Friday, June 30, 2006

Shopgirl


So, I just got done watching the movie Shopgirl, which I found to be rather wonderful in an endearingly quirky kind of way. It had a lot of very true things to say about the nature of relationships in today's world: How they can be unpredictable and how people can get hurt based on how much you are or aren't invested in those relationships. It got me to thinking about my life and all my friendships over time.




My life has been changing again for me lately. Bigger changes around the bend; I can feel it coming on. I usually get into this kind of pensive mood and really just want to be alone and chill out with myself (and my devoted kitty -- the love of my life) and really be present in the moment and enjoy life as it happens around me.That's something I haven't been very good at in the past -- being present. I'm always thinking ahead, or wondering how people think of me.

I have been noticing that as I get older I have these profound moments
of examining my life about once every year or so. I take stock, examine my faults, and then get on this "I must change" kick that lasts for a few months and yields some very cool results.

I finally got off my butt and signed up to take this weight training class over at Los Angeles Community College. I've been feeling very insecure about my body for a while now, especially living in L.A., Land of the Ken Dolls and Barbie Babes, but mostly, I just want to feel better about myself. I've always had what I refer to all "gym phobia" -- a fear of being laughed at, not fitting in, not being cool enough. It goes back to being that scrawny gay kid in high school that all the jocks made fun of. Gay men can be even more cruel and dismissive, always sizing each other up and seeing how much potential is there for sex. That's why I wanted to do this as far away from the gay community as possible. It's not about me being "hot." This is something I'm doing for myself, to feel better about myself, not to get more guys to sleep with. I'm kinda done with that, too. More on that below. Mostly, though, apart from the getting into shape thing, this has been more about just taking stock of who I am as a person and what kind of a friend I've been to people. And I sometimes wonder, "Have I been a very good friend?"

I think that I have. I've always been such a recluse in some ways. I think this came from holing myself up in my bedroom for long periods of time just escaping into television and HBO b/cuz my childhood was too depressing to think about. I missed out on friends and social techniques that would have aided me in my adulthood. This is evidently common among gay men. We spend so much of our younger years hiding who we are that we don't experience "adolescence" as straight people do until we hit our 20s and 30s.

I think that's true for me, and I think it has a lot to do with my failings as a friend.. I feel like I'm still only 17 or 18 in some regards, like I'm just now unlocking some of these secrets about dating and having friends that everyone else was privvy to much earlier in their lives. Obviously, everyone has it hard. We all go through these things in our own ways. I know it's not really a "gay" thing at all, but I do think it's common among us homos.

Anyway, I've really made an effort to open myself up to people lately, to really reach out to them and make an effort. At first I wondered if it was b/cuz, as I looked around my life and took stock of all the friends I had left, the list was rather short and skimpy. But again, as I've said in the past, that is something I am OK with. What I realized is that the reason I have so few friends at this stage in my life is that I've realized that most of my friendships have been built upon superficial foundations. I don't know that I've honestly given of myself to a lot of the people I've known along the way. I was always so concerned with things like "Are they going to think I'm cool enough?" to "Are they going to think I'm masculine enough?" to "Are they going to think I'm hot enough? that I never really lived in the moment with any of my friends, even the women. I was trying too hard to be liked, instead of just being myself.

I have made some great friends in the last couple years, some of whom stuck around, some of whom did not. I've really tried to step up to the plate and invovle myself more, to let go of my insecurities and just be myself. Sometimes when I feel myself letting go and really having fun with them, I get tense and start to retreat into my old ways, then I have to smack myself around a little in my head and force myself to get out of my head and get back into the moment. It's kind of funny how it happens, but I'm discovering that I'm much more aware of my actions that I have been in the past.

Taking responsibility for my failings as a friend and as a lover has really had an interesting effect on me. The other night, I met this really cool guy who I was instantly smitten with. As it turned out, he was a little taken with me as well, and at the end of the night, he asked me to go home with him. For a moment, I considered it, but then I thought, "I really need to get up for work tomorrow, and I know if I come over there we're going to be up late." In truth, while that was part of it, the bigger part was me thinking, "This guy seems like he's really 'in the zone' of wanting to have sex with me b/cuz he's intrigued by me right now, but I know that if I give in to this right now, chances are the mystery will be over before I've put my pants and I'll never hear from him again. And who knows what I might have helped kill by not allowing myself to want more than that?"

So far, the guy has been in touch, which is cool. Maybe we'll even go out. Maybe we won't. The cool part, though, is that I didn't dive right in and sabotage yet another possiblity. It was a grown-up moment for me. I only hope I can continue discovering these things with my friends as well, as I begin investing myself in the relationships I have with people more fully.

So there you have it. A stream-of-consciousness rambling from yours truly. Kinda long, I know, but that's what stream-of-consciousness ramblings are all about, right? Taking apart the thoughts in your head and trying to make sense of your life.

Here's to me being a better friend, and a better person in general.

XOXO,
HollywoodKen

3 Comments:

At 5:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Ken. I used to be ORANGEBLOGGER, but I've recently changed my moniker to YOGCHICK. Anyway,I figured you knew a lot of gay people (Duh) and may be something of a George Michael fan yourself. I started a new blog that has an intelligent take on the GM phenomenon, since so many of the fansites out there just weren't doing it for me. Would you care to alert your friends and fans about my new blog? It's taking off pretty well, and I'll be linking to you soon. Thanks either way.
Yogchick/Orangeblogger

www.yogchick.blogspot.com

 
At 6:05 AM, Blogger Yogchick said...

I loved SHOPGIRL. Very original and poignant and thoughtful. I may read the book, I don't know. Steve Martin is really talented.

 
At 9:33 PM, Blogger david.nemitz said...

Hey Ken, long time no see. I've been wondering how you were doing. Bumped into Deb at a wedding last night and she told me about your blog. How ironic that your most recent post dealt with examining yourself as a friend/lover/etc.! We all need to do that now and then; I know I did. I'm truly sorry we lost touch.

Anyway, glad to see that you are doing well. Drop me a line sometime.

 

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