Justin's Life...

~ September 2000 ~

September 3, 2000 - Sunday

A while back, Spencer brought a toy of his with him as I brought him over to my office. It was a kid's meal toy, a pretend video cassette box made of bright red plastic, with a colorful sticker on the front. He was carrying it, opening and closing it, to get the snap, and yet, when we went back to the house, the toy was left out on the deck.

In the months since that time, the bright red plastic has faded in the sun to a pale, pale pink. The sticker on top has faded as well, so much so that it's hard to read. What was once important enough to bring along on the trip has now been rendered washed out and forgotten by time and the sun.

I hate passing that little plastic box on the deck. It reminds me of my own fate. I can't bear to pick it up and throw it away. Doing so would seal its fate. Instead, I leave it there, trying not to think about it. I so don't want to fade out of existence. I so don't want to be forgotten.

I can barely tell you the names of my father's parents, and with each passing year, memories of my mother's parents become harder to recall. On one hand, I realize that we live in the most recorded age to date, but will nearly all of us fade away to a collection of pictures? Will the lucky ones be remembered in future generations like we remember Lucille Ball today?

Last night, I pulled two of Katie's loose teeth. It's like my official job: I'm the tooth puller. I know she'll remember that until the day she dies, and it gives me a little kind of peace... at the very least, I have made that mark.

So, no resolution to this one. No ending... Only a little plastic box that has more meaning that its creators ever realized.


September 14, 2000 - Thursday

Saturday evening, I wrote the following journal entry:


In recent months, as Warren and Selma (AKA Grandma and Grandpa on Larry's side) have made several trips to the hospital due to old age, Larry's often said that Selma would be lost without Grandpa by her side after 50 some years together. Yet, this weekend, Larry's in New York with Katie and Val, and I realized just how helpless I am without him by my side.

It first evidenced itself earlier today when Andrew responded to my asking him if he wanted to go to La Jolla. -- Actually, Larry suggested to me that Andrew and I go to one of the other houses, so even that can't be attributed to my decision making ability.

Anyway, Andrew responded to my question by asking me why we should go to La Jolla when we could just stay in L.A. instead. I told him that I didn't know, that we could do something like go jet skiing there, and then I looked online to see what types of listings were in San Diego for jet ski rentals. I didn't want to call myself to reserve two for tomorrow or to find out specific rates. It was like I was powerless to do so: I would have always just let Larry call and followed his lead about which was the best place to rent them from, whether the rate was a reasonable one, and so forth. Indeed, I would have normally just followed his lead to go to La Jolla without need of an explanation as to why, and perhaps would have just suggested the jet ski thing maybe one time out of the year.

So, anyway, Andrew and I drove to La Jolla earlier today and then Andrew started asking what thing fun we were going to do. I told him that I didn't know and that we couldn't go jet skiing until tomorrow. He was being difficult, as though I had some obligation to entertain him non-stop, and as time went on, I was getting increasingly tired of his antsiness. Finally, he got pissed, got in the bed (at 6PM) to take a nap, and I decided to read the paper.

A few minutes later, I decided I'd placate him (and make myself "proud") by calling our friend Dan to see what he was doing for the evening. Yet, like with the jet skis, I hesitated, until I finally just told myself, "Quit being a wuss. Nothing bad is going to happen. Just do it!"

So I called, talked to Dan, and in a little while he should be calling back to possibly go see a movie.

I don't know why I'm so helpless on my own. It's like I can't make the phone call. I can't make the plans. I was never good at it, but now, after four years of having someone nearly always do it for me, I'm completely helpless on my own.

Part of me knows that it makes no sense. I'm sure everyone calling to rent a jet ski doesn't know the "protocol" of renting one, but I'm so afraid of appearing ignorant/dumb that I don't even make the call. I know that's illogical, but the fear in my head is real and there nonetheless. I've always had a problem with disapproval, even from strangers... and as I read somewhere the other day, Americans would rather do something they didn't want to do than appear impolite.

Even in Toys R Us the other day, when the cashier asked for my telephone number during the checkout, when I said no, I felt guilty about it. Like I wasn't meeting their standards... even though I really felt they had no right to ask me for the number.

I know I need to work on it, and I know the problem exists, so that, as the saying goes, is half the battle, but it's amazing to me that I really am so helpless, so fearful of disapproval or failure that I can hardly function in some regards. I can't even try... and I know I need to change that.

but I couldn't remember the password to add the entry to the server, so I e-mailed it to myself and went on with the weekend. On Monday, I had intended to upload the entry and write the follow-up telling how Andrew and I went to see Bring It On with Dan on Saturday night and how I called the next day and successfully rented two jet skis by myself... but today's Thursday, and I no longer feel "proud" of pushing myself.

In fact, I feel pretty much totally and completely shitty. I feel lost, ashamed, and stupid. I'm functioning on autopilot; breathing, drinking, eating, but having no direction whatsoever. And part of me thinks that I'm making the worst decision of my life. Part of me feels like I've painted myself into a corner and yet another part feels like I don't want to get out. There's even a part of me that feels like I'm ready, maybe even subconsciously wanting, to self-destruct. But above all, I think I feel lost the most.

I hate life. I hate myself. Right this second, I want to rip the fucking keyboard out of the computer. I want to bash it into the wall. I want to just explode. And as strict as I am about only saying what I mean and meaning what I say, I can honestly say that part of me thinks it would be easier/better if I just keeled over dead right this second.


September 26, 2000 - Tuesday

Normally, I try to write about both the good and bad in my life, with as much relevant detail as possible, when it happens, but on very rare occasions, I must decide which is more important, living my life or chronicling it. Such was the case a while back when I realized that I was living my life according to how I wanted it to be seen through your eyes. At that time, I decided that I had some important decisions to make, decisions which couldn't be influenced by my value-judging against how I wanted to appear to you, and I took a six month hiatus.

The case as of late has been similar yet different. This time, I didn't take a total hiatus, nor was I worried about living my life differently because I was being watched. Instead, I decided that rather than complicate my already complicated real life decisions by writing about the minute details, I would try only to impart my feelings, and while I have intimated what's going on, I've refrained from writing about what's been specifically going through my head.

You see, I moved out... and the emotions have ranged from the "wanting to die" as I wrote above to feeling completely lost to thinking that I'm going to make it work after all. It's been rough, it's been ok, but it hasn't been wonderful. I've had fleeting moments of excitement, and the first few days were the worst, but I still spend a lot of my time, as little as possible, wondering just exactly what I'm doing and what I want out of life.

I don't even know where I want to live, let alone what I want in the bigger picture. Through the course of the past few months, I signed a lease in Valencia but didn't move in, then moved to Oakwood Corporate Housing in Burbank but left after six days because of constant construction and asbestos. I'm now in an outrageously expensive apartment downtown that has nothing extravagant about it, and I pretty much hate the building with as much hate as an inanimate object can acquire. It's fine once I get inside my little apartment, where it becomes my own little world, but the actual employees here, the elevators, the parking structure rules, everything from entering the gate to getting to my apt. door fills me with disgust. Harsh words for an apartment building, I know.

So, I'm toughing it out, going to class (Adam has been fine, btw), and trying to make new real life friends. Who knows where I'll end up, but I'm keeping going.


September 29, 2000 - Friday

Ever realize something about yourself, then forget it because you're so set in your ways? It's like once upon a time, you decided that there was something that you wanted to change about yourself, but inertia, forgetfulness, or some other unknown force just kept you doing what you wanted to rectify.

Well, as of late, I've come to re-realize that I need more friends; not just more friends, but a lot of friends. Now I know for sure that this isn't a new thought; it's too familiar to be brand new, even without going back to read what I've written, but lately I've found myself settling for only one new friend instead of keeping at it, meeting new people, trying to make several. And as alien as it sounds to me and who I consider myself to be, I really want to have lots of friends so if I want to do something, I will always have someone who wants to do something, too.

Take last night for instance: I decided I wanted to go to the cowboy bar to push myself to be a little more adventurous... but my options for someone to go with me were limited to Andrew, Jim, or Noam. Andrew was at some gay club meeting at his school, Jim wasn't home, and Noam didn't want to go. That meant I either sat here in my apartment alone, or I go by myself. I chose the latter.

Yet, even while thinking that I didn't look too shabby in my jeans and cowboy boots, I was completely alone in the bar. I stood, as the saying goes, holding up a wall. Everyone else seemed to be coupled off and while I'd gotten there in time for the dance lessons, I just couldn't force myself to get out on the floor and try to learn the steps. Now I know if I'd had someone there with me, I would have forced him to get out there and try it, and thereby forced myself, but even telling myself that I told myself earlier in the day that I would, I couldn't.

So, forty-five minutes after arriving at the bar, I left. I came back to the apartment, played on the computer for a bit, then went to sleep.

I don't want to spend the rest of eternity on the computer. I want a real life, with real interactions. I want friends who want to go see movies, who want to hang out, who want to do things... and damn it, I'm going to get them. I mean, don't get me wrong: The computer and Internet are great things, but they need to be used in moderation. -- I'm telling myself that as much as I'm telling it to you.

So, hopefully (and ironically), through the computer and the Internet, I'll find some friends to experience "real life" with. I'm giving Yahoo! Personals a shot (see below), and heck, maybe I'll even get so carefree that it won't bother me that the first sentence of this paragraph ended with a preposition!

Clay Walker Fan Needed!
My pict is in my profile, but I'm not looking for sex. (Yep, you read right!) It seems all these ads are SEX NOW or super sappy ("let's walk on the beach"). Aren't there any cute, masculine REGULAR guys (around my age) out there? Maybe even one or two who would go see (dare I say it?) "a country music concert"?

As for me, I'm a 24 year old decent+ looking masculine guy who's searching for someone who'll help bring out that bad boy who's trapped inside of him. Years of Methodist upbringing down south took their toll, but I'm ready to be a little more adventurous (in life). That said, and trying not to sound as sappy as the ads I just ridiculed, I need someone who understands where I'm coming from and who comes from somewhere somewhat similar. (That, boys and girls, is called "alliteration" ;-) Seriously, it's important to note, too, that I'm not really interested in hanging out with "sexually adventurous" guys. That's not the adventure of which I speak: If you've slept with someone whose name you didn't know, don't bother responding.

Hmm... not really sure what else to put here. I'd like to have someone to go see a movie, to have dinner with, to force me to be a little more "wild". I'd love to be the guy that's carefree enough to go camping and skinny dip in the river. I'd love to hang out the sunroof, sing karaoke in a crowded bar, or go two stepping at Oil Can Harry's (a gay cowboy bar in Studio City). Wanna drive, watch, or dance with me? *grin*

You've either gotta include a picture or an e-mail address to get a response, preferably both.


P.S. FWIW, I prefer guys with red or blonde eyebrows (usually seen on red heads or blondes (duh!)) and guys with pale skin, but I'm looking for friends, too. So, if you're height/weight proportionate, around my age (18-34), and decent+ looking, drop me a line.

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