I didn’t become what I thought the kids in Grease were. Being in those productions did not make me fearless and they did not boost my confidence. But they did allow me to be around nice people for two extra hours during the week. And that made me less lonely. I was the kid that everyone knew, but no one saw outside of school. Sometimes I wish that I had been brave and become closer to the theatre kids. I think high school would have been easier if I had.
I haven’t learned that you can’t change the past. There are some memories that you can’t forget, no matter how much you want to erase them. That constantly remembering can lead to regret. Sometimes when I’m home, I drive past my childhood home and I’ll remember the last meal I had with my mom and brother before I left for college; proms and graduations; the time a squirrel came down the chimney and caused my brother and I to barricade ourselves in his room; when my dog died; shaving my head in the bathroom because I was an idiot and got dreadlocks that looked like burnt Cheetos. But when I think about those memories, I’m filled with a bitter longing. The past is tempting, because you want to remember the good things—the good things only—but you cannot have good without bad. For every laugh, there is a cry.
My mother had a graduation party for me the other night. Everyone asked me what my plans are. I told everyone that I’m looking for jobs in Chicago (if you know of anything, let me know), but I said to one person, “You know, I think I’m just going to open up a lemonade stand somewhere. But I would either drink all of the lemonade because of the heat or get arrested for spiking it with vodka.” That person did not laugh, she just looked concerned. It got me thinking, though, that I need to have plans other than finding a job. Now is the time to do the things that I’ve always wanted to do, but never had time to do because of school. I smell freedom in the air and it’s not because of the 4th (cont.).
But no matter how much time I spent with him, the secret of my homosexuality still hurt. I was friends with him when the battle with my depression was beginning, which I did not know was happening at the time. My admiration of Matt was slowly turning to envy. I started thinking that I would never have the courage he did, that I would never be able to be who I wanted to be, and, worse, that I would have to carry my secret for the rest of my life. I cried in my car that day because all I had been hearing were the bad thoughts in my head. I cried because when I put the CD in all I heard was, “Live.” That is what Sigur Rós has been for me ever since. It could be Jónsi’s falsetto or the complex arrangements or how it just haunts you, but I really hear it all as a plea to keep living, because everything will be all right.