Miscellany - The Grass Isnít Necessarily Greener Ė It May Just Be a Different Color
February 3, 2011
by Jay Randel
As I have continued to evolve in my life, Iíve made conscious efforts to try to find out who I am and what my place is here on Earth. It hasnít always been an easy journey. Itís been met with feelings of inadequacy and sadness, but itís also been met with feelings of joy and real purpose.
Lately, it hasnít been sad or happy, so to speak, rather, just Ö lost. This aimlessness has, no doubt, caused me to treat some people unfairly, as I have been frustrated, wondering simply, ďIs this it? Is this how this grandiose idea of Ďlifeí is supposed to play out for me?Ē
Now Iíll grant you an obligatory eye roll because yes, I am only 29 and have the potential for a long life, but I donít feel unjustified in wondering about my future. One has to admit that itís very easy to get stuck in a rut and then realize that years have passed and those personal goals seem to cross themselves off the list out of neglect.
That being said, I may have mentioned in previous columns that about six months ago, I made a personal goal to ďput myself out thereĒ and meet more people. This too has been a challenge, because itís nearly impossible to meet people in Kansas City if itís not at a bar. Being a homosexual who does not drink makes the whole bar thing all the more challenging, because the places to meet other gay men around my age are almost always bars.
ďJust go and have a good time,Ē people have told me, and yes, thatís absolutely right. But it gets a little old.
Anyway, I made this pledge and have taken the arduous journey with some of my trademark trepidation. However, throughout, and especially recently, Iíve really started to think of myself as a jerk. A real anti-social jerk. I might as well have a stink eye.
Iíve been beating myself up, wondering why I canít go out and be social, why I donít get invited to this party or that event, as I see pictures of smiling faces feed into the news on my Facebook account. It can be consuming. In fact, itís gotten so consuming at points that Iíve been completely oblivious to all these awesome things that have happened in my life. Or, Iíve acted out on some of the real friends that I have made because Iíve been so lost and not myself, thus perpetuating the frustration that I was working so hard not to have.
Nothing has to be that hard. So I couldnít help but look back and wonder why everything felt so aimless, why everything felt so wrong and made me feel inadequate. Why I, no doubt, pissed off some people whom I care about. Then, as if a proverbial pair of ruby red slippers clacked together at my feet, my wondering psyche returned home for a brief moment to sort of slap me back into coherence.
Of course things felt out of place. No wonder I was frustrated. Suddenly it all made sense! Iíve been chasing after a version of myself that didnít fit. I wasnít having fun at bars or parties standing shoulder-to-shoulder with people I didnít know because that isnít me. That isnít something that brings me joy and fulfillment in life, and Iím sure it showed. Here I was, most likely already feeling awkward, with some extra pounds, untucked loose clothing, and a receding hairline, let alone being lost on the map toward things in common.
There isnít anything wrong with partying and drinking, but it isnít something that I like. So why stress over it? Why project someone elseís likes onto my own? I can be friends with people I like, people Iíve met in my own way, and enjoy their company when our paths cross doing something that we commonly enjoy.
Believe it or not, so far itís worked. I havenít felt stressed or inadequate. Iíve felt like my old self again except Ö better. Iíve felt like me, just with more openness to go with the flow of things. Less anticipatory of disappointment and more focused on what my wants are. ďWhat do I feel like doing?Ē instead of ďOK, let me compromise what I want so that I can be like everyone else.Ē
Iím a unique person. Sure, we all are, I mean how the hell could I forget second grade and how we were ďeach like a snowflake.Ē But further, Iím a unique guy. Iím not into the gay party scene, Iím introverted, Iím stocky, big-boned or whatever you want to call it, Iím pretty intelligent (not that others arenít, too) Iím sort of witty in a British kind of way, and I like smaller groups of people. I have a more serious disposition, and thatís simply Ö OK.
Who I am isnít easy. Iím a complicated fellow, but I have a feeling Iím going to start enjoying the complication more. After all, my grass isnít always the most green, and there may be some patches of crab grass and weeds every once in a while, but hey, itís a nice yard.