Justin's Life...

~ December 2000 ~
~ December 10th - 24th ~

December 10, 2000 - Sunday

Needless to say, I'm a lot less angry than I was on Friday. Writing the e-mail, getting the response, and writing the entry here helped to get it out of my system. I'm still a bit hurt by the whole ordeal, but as I wrote before, my wall's pretty thick as of late. I'll keep on chuggin' on.

But... as I'm one who needs to get burnt several times, this morning, I wrote Scott one final e-mail:

Subject: Honesty...

Hey Scott,

I was thinking... why don't we both try honesty? You were having issues with you being gay and so you stopped talking to me. I knew that when I wrote that "Tell me to fuck off. Tell me you're so far back in the closet. Tell me something" e-mail on Monday, but I wanted to believe the best in you; I wanted to believe that I was a little too important to you for you to just stop talking to me. I sent that pict of me in Disneyland on Wednesday just in case you thought I was mad at you; I wanted you to know that I wasn't. Yet late Thursday night, it was obvious you weren't go to speak to me again unless I forced you. Actually, it wasn't obvious... if it had been completely obvious, if I were SURE that you were having closet issues, it would have been better. As was, I only THOUGHT with a high degree of certainty that you were having those issues and stopped talking to me, on purpose, without ANY explanation whatsoever.

So, anyway, I wrote that e-mail. I was angry, and I wanted you to know that you weren't getting off that easily. I mean, it's one thing for you to be a closet case by yourself, but it's COMPLETELY another for you to come into my life, mess with my heart, and then just disappear without so much as an "I'm having closet case issues. Give me some space. I'll be back shortly." Treating someone like that just isn't acceptable. So, I wanted you to know, that one way or the other you were going to have to talk to me about it. Amazing, I hadn't heard from you for five days, yet less than 12 hours after I wrote that e-mail where I said I knew your address, you responded. And you started out with "Hey, i've been sick lately." Do I look that dumb? OK, you might have been sick, but you were checking your e-mail. You'd gotten my letters. You'd just chosen not to respond... and ya know, that hurt. I've had enough experience in these matters to know what was going on before you wrote back... but that didn't make it hurt any less. Thinking that someone thinks he's more attracted to you than to anyone ever one day and then having him not even return your e-mails the next... to just disappear without ANY explanation. That hurts.

So, where are we now... not at a good place. We've both lied, a lot. My e-mail about showing up at your house was one big ruse as was the one following it. I wasn't sorry about freaking you out. That was the whole point. I wanted to freak you out and therefore get SOME response, ANY response.

So, the hurt part still wants to say that you're not getting off that easily. That you either talk candidly/honestly about what's been happening in your life lately in e-mail, or I'll call, but I'm just not in the mood to threaten. So, please, give it some thought. I apologize, not for freaking you out, but for lying and feigning ignorance. I knew what was going on, but I wanted to let you tell me.

I will say that you at least need to acknowledge receipt of this letter: a simple "I got it. I read it" as if you don't, I'll again wonder if you got it... and while I'll be 99% sure that you did, the other one percent will want to call and ask.

So, I'd like to help... but I can't do it all myself. You're going to have to LET me help... IF you want to get to a place where you actually like yourself. Whaddya say, it was nice before. You wanna try starting over... and letting me know the good and the bad? I promise you'll be a happier person when we're done.

Hope to hear from you soon,

Otherwise, life's continued to be lonely and without direction. Indeed, thinking about why I was so angry with Scott, I would guess that a large part of it had to do with the fact that his presence gave me a focal point. Of course, the cerebral part knows that it's not good to use anyone else as a focal point, but the cerebral and the actual rarely align.

At the very least, I've realized that I'll be here for just 9 more days. After that, I fly to Kentucky, and when I get back, some major changes will be taking place. I really hope the change in scenery when I return gives me a change in outlook as well. I know the location isn't that important in my actual happiness, but perhaps, like a placebo or a minor nose job, it'll be the spark that creates the real change which comes from within. Reality is created by the perceptor.


OK, it's official. I've been burnt enough.

Hey Justin,

I'll be honest with u. You're a great guy. I am not ready to be in a relationship with a guy. I have been talkin to a guy from school. he's real nice we're friends right now. I didn't mean to hurt your feelings, but getting someone's home phone number and address without permission is wrong. Justin, think about this. I'd appreciate it if u didn't email or call or come here again. You'll find somebody, i'm sure, u won't have any trouble.

Take care.

I would write back to say that he's being more honest, yet still not being honest, but what's the point? The phone number/address thing is simply his excuse... as though he would have behaved civilly otherwise, as though he were behaving civilly before that e-mail. Of course, on the other hand, that was quite the trump card I played by forcing his response. It would be hard to recover from it, but I continually have faith in people and continually get let down. Oh well, I'm moving on...


December 11, 2000 - Monday

Too often, especially as of late, I think about my life from my point of view. I have no friends, I hate my apartment, I'm lonely, etc.. And it's easy for someone to say to me, "see what effect your life has on others" but it's very difficult for me to hear, for me to believe.

Last night, I was talking to David. We were on instant messenger, and he wrote how he was singing; "*singing*" as it were. I responded back, "*jumping*" and he, in turn, asked what I meant. I said, "from the window, silly!" and he said... "You kill yourself, you kill me.... I wouldn't be able to take two of the closest people in my life commiting suicide."

My sarcastic expression of my mental state had gone from being all about me, to instantly being about those in my life. David's dad killed himself when David was sixteen, shortly after they talked on the phone. David had sensed something was wrong and called his grandmother (who was living with or nearby David's dad, I don't remember which) afterwards. She assured him that his dad was ok, but David's dad killed himself that night nevertheless. Needless to say, that fact had escaped my active consciousness when I jested about jumping from the window.

I thought about what he said for a brief moment, instantly typed something more perky, and our conversation continued as normal. He said it, and I heard it, but I pushed it out of my head and went back to the me-centric view.

Then, later last night, he wrote me an e-mail:

Subject: Just because....


Do you realize how much you mean to me? *grin* Shut up and let me finish!! hehe Seriously.... You've touched my life in so many ways that I can't explain or help but to feel grateful for. Not in the area of being comfortable with my sexuality, but more about just how to live life in general.

Having each other helps remind each of us that there are better people out there for each of us I think. So if anything, we are very good for each other: can't let the other one fall in love with an asshole, as we both have a tendency of doing. ;-)

*laughing at myself*

I don't know.... I just want you to know that you don't have to have a wall up around me. I never want you to feel like you can't tell me something, or that you can't trust me, or that you don't have anyone in your corner. I'm not going to hurt you. Only harass you!! ;-) And I'll only harass you as much as you harass me.

Once with Marissa and now with you.... I almost feel as though we were meant to be friends; soul-friends if you will. Marissa helped me understand a deep innate part of me, and what I was looking for in that special someone else. You've shown me that there is room for me to be a better person in other areas of my life (as I thought I was perfect before). *grin* I'm still not sure what it is that you're giving me, but I know it's good. I just thank you for being one of the good...no...best things in my life.

Love you always,

--- Edited For Brevity/Focal Point ---

I almost cried... and that me-me-me viewpoint went away and heard that no matter what my problems, I was important to David and he needed me in his life.

Those thoughts still lingering in my mind, this morning I received yet another e-mail that took the focus off me and onto how I fit into other's lives.

Subject: Is This Subject Unique Enough? *grin*


When I first found your site a few months ago, I didn't know what to think. At first glance, it just seemed like another journal site that I could waste my life away visiting and reading. But after going back five years and realizing what this journal was like, and knowing that it would impact my life in some way, whether it be in a minute way or in a bigger way than most online journals do, I knew that finding "you" was the best thing that's ever happened in the few months I've had this computer. Since then, I've spent countless hours reading and re-reading all of your adventures in this journey we call life, and I have to say that it was all worth it. Ever since that moment, I've grown as a person, and it's not just because the words you wrote were so powerful, but because I knew the meaning behind them that made them so effective. I know where you've been, and I know the hurt and anguish you must feel at some points, believe me, I've been there. And knowing the fact that I was there once just makes everything so relevant, you know? And when it's relevant, it becomes something real, not just something you see on the screen. It's becomes part of you, part of your life, and that's what separates you from all the rest. You're not just some teenager out there that tells of breaking up with their partner or goes on about how "Did you know that Joey was going out with Melissa but that Melissa has a thing for Brian"... you know the drill. Thing is, you're actually out there, living life, not telling about it. You're out there experiencing the things that your "audience" does. You do the things they do. You feel the things they do. You live the life they do, and that's what makes you unique. Knowing that someone out there has the same feelings we do about the world as we know it just makes everything so worth while. Many of us spend countless hours thinking that we are alone in this world, but during that time we are so stubborn to admit that there is another person out there that is thinking the exact same thing at the exact same moment. So, technically, you are not alone, you just think you are. And it's all thanks to you, Justin, that people like me don't have to think that anymore. You've managed to do all that you've done just to help out someone else. That was your goal in the beginning, to help out someone, even if it is just one person because if you did, you would have known that you made a difference in this world. Well, I guess the whole point of this letter is to tell you that you DID make that difference in me, although I'm sure I'm not the only one. I could tell you right now that you've helped thousands of people, and you should be proud. I just managed to gather up the courage to send you this little "Thank you". Others may not be so gallant in doing so. It may just be because of the simple fact that you're THE Justin that makes them stray from hitting that "Send" button. It's almost fear I would have to say that they would be sending a message to the man that they've been idolizing for some time now. I guess if I had to make an analogy of it all, I would have to say that you're the Superstar, and they are the fan that's too frightened to go up to them and ask for an autograph. Bad comparison, I know, but I think you're smart enough to figure out where I was trying to go with it *grin*. So, bottom line, I just wanted to send this along to you to tell you that I appreciate everything that you've done not only for me, but for all your other readers as well. I know that this letter will never fully explain my feelings concerning this matter, but I think that you get the point. I'm just saying what I've been wanting to say for several months now, but never got a round to doing. I don't know what brought along this little boost of courage from me, but just as long as it reaches you, I'll know that my efforts paid off in the end, just like yours will. Wherever you're planning on going, whichever goal you're aiming for, you'll get there. I just know you will. After all, you ARE Justin. *grin*

- Chris

That one's got me misty eyed, too. I've heard it before, but like I said, it's so hard to HEAR. People I've never met care about me. I've helped to change their lives... just by being me. And I don't think I give myself enough credit for that gift. It seems to come so naturally to me that I have trouble recognizing it for anything special... even when, ironically, I write about people lying to themselves and me.

So I still may have very few friends here in the physical space of L.A., but I've got the courage and support to make those changes I need to make.


You know those people in your life that you can identify only by the job they hold: the bank teller, the postal clerk, the lady that takes the ticket at the parking structure at the bank (well, maybe that's an L.A. thing). Well, anyway, every now and then, you strike a rapport with one of those faces. You never see them outside their jobs, but still there's some connection, some sense of kinship.

In the past couple of months, I've come to build that rapport with two gals at KFC. Day in and day out, I drive through and order the same order of 3 Crispy Strips, Chicken and Biscuit Only, and each day it comes to $3.02. Each time, there's a little extra smile there from one or both of the gals... and a little extra chicken, too.

So, today, after I opened my order to find at least half a dozen strips, I decided I'd hopefully return the favor and make the gals' day by sending them flowers. I went to the corner flower shop, ordered a Christmas bouquet, and attached a card that read, "From the guy who orders 3 crispy strips, no sauce, in the Mercedes. Merry Xmas." It should be delivered later today... and while I figured making them happy would make me happy, I'm just walking around like a fool, with a constant smile on my face. Perhaps it's helped by the earlier realizations of the day, but still, it's one darn fine feeling.


December 13, 2000 - Wednesday

The grin I had on my face Monday after ordering flowers for the girls was nothing compared to the absolute giddiness I felt driving back from KFC a minute ago.

As I pulled up to the drive-thru window, I saw a huge smile on one of the girls' faces and so I said, "Yeah, it was me." They both then came over and thanked me and told me how pretty the flowers were, while simultaneously asking what kind of drink I wanted. (I never order a drink.) I figured they were going to give me a drink free, based on the repeated questioning of what type I wanted, but when it came time to pay for the chicken, they motioned for me to keep the money. I smiled, said thanks, and drove off. And when I opened the box, there were SIX crispy strips. I was actually giggling for most of the drive back to my apartment... it was, without a doubt, the best $30 I've spent in months.


December 16, 2000 - Saturday

I spent Thursday night alone, and I spent last night alone, but I was remarkably less depressed about it than normal. I knew, I know, that after this weekend, I'll be heading home to Kentucky and when I get back, some major changes will be taking place, both physically and mentally.

Indeed, these last few months and this apartment where I live now were never intended to be anything more than a transition area, where I gained a little insight into where I wanted to head, but in which, ultimately, nothing changed. And while it's been rough, those expectations have been met. I've finished French class, and thereby finished my degree at USC, and I know when I get back from Kentucky, I'll be moving to San Diego. Those were the goals, and they were met. Thinking things through during this time, too, has given me a little more direction in my career. I want "Justin's Life..." to become that household name that I've talked about before... and I think I'm focused enough now to earnestly attempt to make that happen.

So, it's, without a doubt, been the roughest five months of my life, but it is over, and now I can hopefully get back to enjoying life again... I guess we'll see.


And on that note, Bryce, Noam, and Alex are getting together with me tonight for a little birthday celebration. It was Bryce's idea (sometimes people do suprise you in positive ways), and well, I'm just really looking forward to it.


December 17, 2000 - Sunday - My 25th Birthday

Last night was... amazingly wonderful.

Driving around Torrance, after exchanging gifts and eating dinner, was as close to that gaggle of gay friends as I've ever gotten. The conversations at the bowling alley, which were far more important than the game itself, and the dessert at Denny's at 1AM were all just so... fantastic. Indeed, even the gifts were incredibly thoughtful: Bryce gave me a crystal vase, as he knows my affinity for flowers, and Noam gave me Martha Stewart pots and pans, as he knows my affinity for Martha Stewart and my lack of kitchenware.

I, too, had taken great care in the present choice of Bryce and Noam. For Bryce, a collection of Playgirl magazines and his first gay porn video, and for Noam, a CD burner. Bryce, far too embarrassed to buy anything gay for himself, had been quite interested in the Playgirl magazine he found on my hallway shelf last month, and at that time, he explained how he'd never seen the inside of one before otherwise. He had also explained how he'd never seen a gay porn video and indicated his desire to change that fact as well: The collection of back issues and the video seemed like the perfect choice.

For Noam, I had a much harder time figuring out what to buy, but given his propinquity for Napster and his vast MP3 collection, I figured a CD burner would be the best choice. He seemed quite pleased as well.

And for Alex, who I've never really hung with except for dinner, I got a Structure gift certificate and The Nightmare Before Christmas video. Actually, I felt a little odd giving such highly personalized gifts to Bryce and Noam, but only giving random things to Alex. Nevertheless, his presents for me were equally random. So our lack of understanding the nuances of the other were mutual.

But again, the night was just so amazingly wonderful. The dinner, the presents, the driving around in the car, the bowling alley, the Denny's dessert; seven hours all incredibly wonderful. Things are looking up...


December 24, 2000 - Sunday
8:50AM Eastern Standard Time

Monday night, when I talked to David, he asked me if I was excited about my trip to Kentucky. I replied that I was not; "no, not really" I think I said. His next question was if I was at least excited to see him: My answer again was that I was not.

The conversation continued and desperation and a whimpering cry could be heard in David's voice. He said that he so wanted me to be happy, yet there was nothing he could do to make me happy. At that point, as he sat there in controlled tears, wanting nothing more than for me to be happy, that emotional barrier wall that I'd managed to keep up for months finally broke. "Do you know that I have no food in my refrigerator... because if I did, there would be days where I saw no one else at all? Even though I'm trying to lose weight, I go buy fast food just so I can have interaction with someone real."

I continued to tell him how incredibly lonely I am most of the time, and as the emotional wall, both to David and to myself, got thinner, the words from my mouth were punctuated with more and more tears, with sobs. As I looked at why I wasn't excited about coming to Kentucky, I realized it was because I was going there alone. I'd realized it before, but I'd managed to push the thought far into my subconscious. I explained that for the past five years or so, I'd spent Christmas in Kentucky with Larry and the kids. I'd played Santa Claus, wrapped the presents, etc... and this year, on Christmas morning, there would be no kids running around the house. The emptiness of the day largely recognized as the happiest day of the year would be unbearable. Moreover, when I'd taken Katie and Spencer to Toys R Us that afternoon, they still hadn't gotten a tree. Christmas, in Katie's life at least, had gone from a mega-event in Kentucky to something that didn't even merit a tree a week before the event.

I cried so much that night, on the phone with David, that my lips were chapped the next day, and I was still emotionally exhausted when Bryce picked me up to go to the airport on Tuesday. Yet, remarkably, today's Christmas Eve, and I've yet to have a lonely moment since getting here. I figure that mindset is largely attributable to the fact that I've hardly had any time alone since I arrived, but I know, without doubt, part of it is because that emotional barrier wall is back.

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© 2000 Justin Clouse
Justin's Life...Justin's