Thank God it’s over.
It’s been an interesting year, to say the very least. I have documented many of my exploits here, but I haven’t even touched the surface of what happened to me since December 31st, 2000. I’ve had some wonderful things happen to me, and I’ve had some horrible things happen to me, and I’ve had a lot that lingered somewhere in between. It’s been a long year. It’s been a year that has made me feel older than I have ever felt in my life, and yet there are parts of me that have been reborn. I could go on and on with the Tale of Two Cities intro, but that is a worn out cliche and I just want to get to summarizing this year so I can put it past me.
So let’s begin.
The most obvious (and often mentioned) change that I have gone through is my weight loss. 137 pounds as of last week (but I’ve got one more party to go through this year, so that number may come in less as of tomorrow). It’s hard to describe how incredibly different I feel now. I can go out in public and not be stared at quite so much. I can buy inexpensive clothing at large retail chains. I can walk up a flight of stairs or down the street without having to catch my breath. I can have sex without feeling like I’m going to have a heart attack. I can see a woman look twice at me and not instantly convince myself that it was my imagination (or the shock of revulsion). I have, however, come up with one nasty side effect from it. Seems as though the lack of fat in my leg has allowed a bony growth that is just under my right knee to rub my inner leg workings wrong, leading to some rather uncomfortable moments over the last few months. You take the good with the bad, I suppose. I’d have it checked out, but I don’t have any insurance.
Because I got laid off back in August. My dream job at Stone Ground Solutions went away when the economy started to go South. I don’t blame them at all. Business is business, and I was honestly spending most of my days doing nothing by the time they let me go. It still sucked, though. It came at the absolute worst time. I was just on the verge of really getting my finances straightened out, and I ended up blowing all my savings to pay the bills for the next few months. I landed a contract that lasted a month right after I was severed, but from September until a few weeks ago I was totally out of work and living off of unemployment checks. If you can call it that. I understand that the unemployment program is not supposed to be a complete income, and that they don’t want you to decide just to live on them, but it amazes me that they think I could make just about 1/3 of what I was making before and survive. I’m back to work now, however, with the company I worked for before I was laid off. Yes, I know. I’ve rambled here about how much I hated working there. I was very reluctant to come back. I’m making a considerable amount more than I was when I worked here before, though (which was always my biggest beef) and there is some new blood running the place. It feels different. More professional. Certainly more organized. Oh yeah, and beggars can’t be choosers. I’m not making as much as I was with Stone Ground, but I’m making enough to get by. That’s much better than unemployment.
I’ve completed my first semester now that I’m back in school, and I’m proud to report that I managed to get A’s in all of my classes. I gave my Grade Point Average a MAJOR upgrade from a 2.595 to a 3.10, and I think I set the foundation for continued success over the next few years. I took an amazing class, too. Introduction to Philosophy with Dr. John Miller. If you get the chance and are going to the St. Petersburg College I highly recommend him. He’s not for everyone. His personal anecdotes (of which there were many) were distracting to many of my classmates, but I found him to be an incredibly engaging and fascinating lecturer. I feel like I learned a tremendous amount in his class, intellectually and spiritually.
Which leads me to the next major change in my life. I’m moving back toward spirituality. Don’t worry. I’m not going Christian again. Been there, done that, got the angst ridden t-shirt. I can no longer deny the fact that taking refuge in my intellect is no longer satisfying me spiritually. I once held that I needed nothing beyond the mind, that nothing existed beyond that which I could see or have proven to me. I’m not so sure anymore. There is something else out there. Maybe it’s because of September 11th. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older. Maybe it’s just because of the fact that I have so many wonderful things in my life but I’m still unhappy most of the time. I don’t know for sure. I’ve been exploring the possibilities of meditation and Buddhism, and I’m finding a lot there that makes sense to me. Does this mean I’ll actually take vows and become a Buddhist? I couldn’t tell you for sure. What I can tell you, however, is that I’ve been doing a lot of reading on the subject and there are many valuable things one can take from Buddhism. I suppose you can say that about any religion, if you look at it from the right perspective.
My romantic life? Ah, what can I say about it that I haven’t said before? I’m still searching, but I’m becoming, I think, less frantic about it. I had a few major let downs over the last year, but I’ve made several new friends from it. Two, in particular, have become very important to me and I’m grateful to have met them at all (yes, if you’re wondering, one of them is the “Howard” woman from my post in October. She has fallen happily in love with another man, which absolutely devastated me when I heard about it. She’s added much to my life, however, in the form of books and music I had not experienced before, and I’m glad now that I got the chance to know her). I haven’t exactly been a saint, either. I almost got involved with a married woman (something I swore I would never do), and only stopped when I realized that her husband was far too crafty for me to get away with talking to her anymore. Good for him. He fought for what was his, and I respect the hell out of him for it. It’s something I didn’t have the balls to do. I misled some women (call it lying if you like, I have no illusions about what I did). Hell, you can see the results of one of my endeavors on my guest book. Seems a friend of one of the women I was involved with wasn’t so happy with how I treated her. Can’t say I blame him. I have the ability to delete messages left on my guest book, but I decided to leave that one up (even after reconciling with her and having him ask me to take it down). I find it humbling. I get told so often how wonderful I am, it’s nice to have something around to bring me back to Earth on occasion. Nobody is perfect, not even me. Hell, especially not me.
I’m involved in the Theater again, and it’s been an amazing experience. I can’t believe I actually let myself go as long as I did without being involved in a production. The cast is comprised of some truly stellar individuals who I am honored to have met, and of course the show is being directed by my old friend “ranney.” I feel like I’ve woken up again, and I don’t plan on going back to sleep. Expect to see me on the stage here in Tampa often.
I’ve also (as if I haven’t been doing enough) been writing again. I’m doing something different this time, though. I’ve been writing erotica. I’m mentioning this because some of my “fans” from the web site have posted on my guest book, and I thought perhaps some of you were wondering what the hell they were talking about. It’s been interesting. I’ve never written anything like this before, but I seem to be pretty good at it (judging from the number of people who have been bugging me to finish my novella). Certainly what I’ve been writing isn’t for everyone, so I’m not going to go into any more details about it here. If you’re interested in reading it, let me know and I’ll tell you how to find it. Except family members. Guys, don’t even ask. I’m so not going there.
A summary of my year would never be complete without talking about my children. Alexander, now six years old, continues to amaze me with how wonderful he is. I took him to several of the “Maxwell” rehearsals, and he seemed to love the process. I’m hoping that some day he’ll decide to get involved in the theater himself. I think, between his mother and I, he’ll have tons of natural talent. Of course, I’m under the impression that the child will be able to do anything that he sets his mind to. Sometimes I look at the path that’s in front of him and I see so opportunities that are similar to ones that I had. I hope he doesn’t waste them. I don’t want him to follow in my footsteps, or become the famous actor that I always wanted to be, but I hope that whatever his passion in life is that he takes advantage of whatever chance he has to pursue it. I don’t care what he does with his life, as long as he does something. As long as he lives, and doesn’t become another couch potato statistic. There is nothing sadder than a person who had potential that just ends up wasting their days away in front of the television wondering what happened to them. Wondering why life passed them by. Not realizing that life didn’t pass them by – They weren’t even at the bus stop to be picked up.
Kimberly. What can I say about Kimberly? What can you say about living with any teenager? It’s the most rewarding and frustrating thing a person can go through. I’m so proud of her. She’s becoming her own person. She’s starting to break out of the “party crowd” mentality and really explore doing things that SHE likes to do. Not that she doesn’t party anymore. She just seems to really be finding what it is that makes her happy, and I think it’s awesome. She is also working two jobs now. Mind you, she doesn’t seem to be able to save any money or do much to contribute to the bills around here, but at least she is paying her own credit card bills. She’s talked recently about moving out. I have mixed feelings about it. I’d like to have my own space, for sure. I’d like to not have to clean up after her. I’d like to be able to take a significant chunk out of my utility bills. But I like having her here, too. I like taking care of her. I’m afraid that if she moves out I’ll see her even less than I do now. I know she’ll say that won’t happen, but I also know that I don’t visit my own mother nearly as often as I should. I think I make it pretty easy to live her. Not a lot of rules, and I even do her laundry every once in a while. She’s free to come and go as she pleases, and I try not to raise my eyebrows TOO high when she says she’s doing something I don’t approve of. She probably feels she is ready to find her own way, though, and I understand that. She’ll be 20 this year. She is an adult. Living with me makes her feel like a kid, and that’s not what she wants right now. So if she goes I will be sad, but I won’t condemn her for it.
And I’ll be able to walk around naked if I want to.
Somehow or other I failed to mention in my November article that I am, officially, divorced now. It was official on October 15th. When I got the paperwork in the mail I was very sad. I finally had that paper I’d dreaded getting for so long, and that chapter of my life was over. I’m not so sad now. In fact, she told me the other day that they are now engaged (which actually took him longer than I thought it would) and I wasn’t really upset about it. In fact, I had a very nice conversation with Jody about her wedding plans. I’ve moved on. Our lives took different paths, and I’m so content with mine right now that I couldn’t imagine things having happened any other way. Many of my friends don’t understand my relationship with my ex wife and best friend, and I don’t really understand it myself. I just feel no malice. I will never, ever forgive what they put me through. The pain I felt during those months was a horrid, wrenching hell that quite honestly put me to the brink of suicide on several occasions. I just wanted it to end, I just wanted to go to sleep and not have to hurt anymore. I got through it, though, and I’m a stronger (and wiser) person now. Even knowing all of that, I can’t fault them for being totally evil. Not when I see them with Alex. Not when they are so willing to help me out when I can’t watch Alex as often as normal during rehearsal periods. Not when I see the looks in their eyes sometimes when they realize how much they hurt THEMSELVES by what they did (Not that I think they would change anything. They gave up a lot, though, to be with each other. They burned a whole shit load of bridges that will never be rebuilt. Even in the cases when they didn’t totally burn them, there was some structural damage). It was horrible, what happened between the three of us, but we have to continue on with lives. Living in the past and filling myself with hate only hurts my son and I.
To those of you who say to yourselves that I’m a fool for feeling that way, I understand. The only thing I could say in my defense is that I’d do the same thing for you.
I hope you all have a wonderful 2002. I know I plan to.