Sunday, February 11, 2007

A New World

I was going to write an “important” post – revelations as I go forward. It is well formed in my head and only awaits my fingers. But I realize that I want to talk about my life, my new life as it forms. I have tried to avoid the “what I did today” style, but I realize that what I do is the true story of the journey. I have threatened to blog less and live more and so I have.

I find myself going out one night each weekend – some with structure and some without. There are two Friday night support groups each month – married gay and gay dads. I have been to each once and will be going back to both of them. It was interesting going first to the married group and then to the gay dads. I was shocked at the dad’s group by the age range – many younger than me, but more than a few my age or older. It seems that the issues of coming out in a family are not limited to school age kids.

I walked away from the dad’s group a bit saddened and did not know why. A well run meeting, twenty interesting men, knowledge to gain and, not being nearly as shy as I once was: knowledge to share. All in all, everything I could ask for. But still some sadness: It took a day, but I came to realize the issue: all these men, mostly separated or divorced, and all seemingly happy with their new lives. Simply put, I was terrified of one more sign of where this could end up – not Will and Grace sharing the house, cooking together, lots of laughter with the wine. Yes, it could still end up there but it can also end up with separate lives and maybe I will find a different level of happiness, but with my happiness, seemingly comes sadness to Carrie.

The groups are the first and third Fridays: that still leaves every other weekend. One was a Saturday night out with one of my new friends from a group – I have already blogged about that. Then last night – another Saturday night – dinner and drinks with Jerry, another guy from the group. Yet another obscenely late meeting time – 9:30 for a bite and then next door to a bar, a piano bar, nice age mix, but clearly on the older side, on my age side.

Now 9:30 is late and hanging out around the house – hi honey, let’s have a glass of wine, I have time before I head to Gay land: I don't think so. So I catch an earlier train knowing I will have an hour to kill, knowing exactly how I will kill it. Now it is one thing to go to a bar – gay or straight – with a friend, a crutch if you would. It is quite different to go it alone, a high wire act without the net.

For a half hour, maybe more, I nurse my drink, fight the impulse to throw a few back, and I do the “walk”, my eyes wander. I am alone. I am lost. I am glimpsing into that lonely future of my fears. And then I find myself next to a man, a man my age, a very fit, very cute man, and somehow there is conversation. It just flows – the details do not matter except to say that I was as always honest. I am separating, I do have children, I will not create a new reality to get picked up. Well, he is divorced – a while now, he has kids. Honesty is pretty cool.

We chat for fifteen minutes and then I have to excuse myself – go around the corner to the diner, go meet Jerry. We part with a smile, but not even an exchange of names. I eat my omelet, have some nice conversation with my friend, but in the back of my mind I wonder will I ever see this man again. A little while later, dinner done, it’s back to the bar. The evening is going well; Jerry and I both came to the evening with no expectations, barely acquaintances from our two hours in a group setting. But we really like each other, we have much in common.

And then, looking up from our settee, there is the other man, talking and laughing in a small group. I catch his eye, he mine and I stand up to say hello. We are each with our own friends, this is just a quick hi. I am insecure, I fear rejection. I will probably never see him again.

But a voice inside me rises – a voice that could not have been found a number of months ago. Without thinking, without letting the fear take over, I tell him I enjoyed talking with him, would like to talk again. He reaches into his wallet and pulls out his card – his cell number, his e-mail. The cell is good and he checks his e-mails. We shake hands, exchange names and part company.

I will e-mail him tomorrow – figure allow a day to go by, allow me to absorb. We may never meet, or maybe have a drink and that will be that. It does not matter. I met him, I conversed as an equal – a fellow gay man with much in common – and I asked for his number. Anything else is gravy.

There was still Jerry who was rooting for me and we still had many hours to talk, to hug, to kiss, to discover what had started as a night of convenience was a night of real friendship. If circumstances were different, if one of us had had a room for the night, there would be more, just not to write.

As the evening started, I was walking up a long, long staircase from the subway and at the top, a penny. I am not proud; I will still pick up a penny. It was heads up and as I picked it up I felt that the evening would be okay.

And so it was.

12 comments:

MK said...

heads up is good luck. seems to have been the case for you. i like how you are becoming comfortable with who you are in every aspect.

marlan said...

I recall the same feelings entering one of the local gay establishments in my city. Although gay men are often criticized for being closed, judgmental and even haughty, I've found the opposite--especially in mature guys. We all have a past, we all have stories, we all are there for a reason. You'll do just fine.

Anonymous said...

Nate,
I found your blog awhile back and have been following your journey...beause I want to understand...but I don't. It's not about your sexual persuasion, but about your commitment to your life partner, your wife. How would you feel if she decided to explore relationships with other men...become as intimate with them as you have with your new relationships? Is that an okay thing? I'm just wondering...

A Troll At Sea said...

Nate:

Why do people who choose the fine old name "Anonymous" always hide behind it to be so cruel? I would like to think that they know not what they do, but I have my doubts.

T@C

Nate said...

Troll
I realized today how far I had come when I read anon's comment and for the first time did not beat myself up. I wondered how much of my blog he/she has truly read - read with an open heart and open mind. Because they clearly have missed soooo much of the journey.

Nate

Nate said...

Dear Anon,
Forgetting many other things you wrote and what I take to be an incredible lack of sensitivity to the struggle and nuance that is the life of my family, I wanted to answer your question.

"Is that an okay thing?"

I discussed that exact point with my therapist today - he asked the question, though in a less aggresive manner. And my answer to you is the same as to him.

It is okay. Will it hurt when she does - absolutely. Does that mean I am not rooting for her - No it does not. Carrie and I e-mailed on the subject earlier today and I would like her to find happiness. I wish she could find such happiness with a gay man but surely do not begrudge her the desire she has for a straight man.

I am jealous in a strange way of ones like you who can see such a black and white world, who can see sexual identity as some stand alone piece of our being. I am afraid my world is not so simple.

Please feel free to respond here or by e-mail if you choose.

Peace be with you,
Nate

Paul said...

Not much is ever black or white. And I am continually amazed at how many - and complementary - shades of gray there are.

Anonymous said...

Nate,
I guess the only thing I do not like about communication this way is that tone of voice is not communicated. I DO NOT mean to be critical or in any means aggressive.I realize it is not black and white, and we all do not live our lives the same. I guess I wonder where commitment, no matter what, is today...for us all...of is it not even important anymore. I do feel sad (for lack of a better word) for your wife...she seems like a very patient loving woman...and I feel "sad" for you...I don't think I'm finding the right words to communicate...may you find what you are looking for...and not lose what you have in the process.I do wish you the best. Pax.

Nate said...

Hey Anon,
Thanks for the additional thoughts. The thing I love about posting as opposed to comments or e-mails, is that I have the luxury of choosing every word, every thought, every feeling.

When I e-mail or comment, I will use the :) symbols. I would never use them in a post for if you cannot "hear" the tone of my voice, my writing has failed me.

Anonymous said...

I have been following your Blog for some time and want to tell you how much it means to me. I'm going through very much the same process and it's helpful to read your thoughts and experiences. It's like trying to have one foot in two worlds, no? I'd love to e-mail you directly; however, I don't see an e-mail address on your blog? Do you have one to share?

Nate said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nate said...

I have fixed my profile to reflect my e-mail address - somewhere along the way the setting was inadvertantly changed.

The address is natesix@gmail.com

I look forward to hearing from you "anon 2"

Nate