Taking Stock of What I Have and What I Haven’t…

Taking stock of what I have and what I haven’t
What do I find?
The things I got will keep me satisfied
Checking up on what I have and what I haven’t
What do I find?
A healthy balance on the credit side…

It’s that time of year when I find myself taking stock of the past 12 months, running through a mental exit interview of sorts, as I prepare for my next trip around the sun. You’ve probably noticed my lack of posts the past few months. It isn’t because I haven’t had anything to say – I’ve just been busier in the real world than I have online, and, well, the past month or so has been rough on all of us. That, especially has been weighing on my heart as I both take stock of the last year and look ahead at what’s to come. Every time I think over the past 12 months, I have the same reaction:

Man, 2016’s been a bit of a year, hasn’t it? 

It honestly feels like it’s lasted forever. I’m finding myself weary as we finish this one up. National events excluded, my personal life has been a whirlwind.

Some highlights:

-Had to move last Christmas

-Massively successful First Night Carlisle Event [sold out for the first time ever]

-Craziness over an art project I felt incredibly strongly about, but ultimately had to abandon

-Moved into my new [larger] apartment

-Got a new car

– Drove to SC to meet my new nephew

-Had my first date [EVER]

-Had lots of very personal firsts I won’t get into here

-First Vacation in 5 years

-Went Tubing for the first time

-Organized a prayer vigil after the Pulse shooting, and ended up becoming Carlisle’s first ‘out’ public figure, and a mouthpiece for LGBTQ issues in town

-Got over my Harrisburg Phobia

-Went to the ocean

-Promoted to National Accounts Manager at work

– First breakup [which sucked ass, and still really hurts]

-Spent Thanksgiving with my family for the first time since 1996

-Helped rally the community for a huge public show of support for the passage of an Equality Ordinance

-Learned more about myself and truly HEALED

Like I said, it’s been a bit of a year. Some really rough things, but so very, very many incredible things have happened. Yes, we ended up with a lying, treasonous, cheeto-hued man-child as our president, and that scares the shit out of me, but as I said, aside from national events, 2016 was an amazing year. I finally feel like my feet are back under me, that most of the Army crap is behind me, and, for the first time, I truly KNOW myself.

I have incredible friends who walk beside me, for whom I’m grateful beyond belief.

I have an apartment with the BIGGEST KITCHEN I could ever imagine [heck, I have a COUCH in there!].

I’ve started working on reclaiming my body after a decade and a half on steroids.

I can sit with myself in silence and enjoy my own company, and my brain isn’t too much of a jerk most days.

I AM WHO I AM, AND I AM HAPPY WITH THAT PERSON.

This past week, my sister Mary came across an old blog post from the old angelfire page I had when I was 19. [yikes, I know] As I read it, I couldn’t help but think how incredibly prophetic the entry was. Aside from some incredibly theistic language regarding my place in the s.a., they were some unusually wise words to come from a 19 year old. I don’t even remember writing them, but when I read them this week, chills ran up and down my spine. Who knew that 19 year old me would have written such an encouraging letter to almost 40 year old me?  Here, I’ll share a bit of it…editing some of the theistic language [edits will be in italics]:

As we rush through our lives at a pace that would rival the Olympic speed skaters,  it is so easy to be swallowed up in a sea of unassuming conformity. We can stumble along like lemmings on our mad courses of conventionality and self-devastation, building up walls and blockades around our  souls, forcing ourselves into a smaller and smaller acceptable reality. 

Within that reality is an underlying gnawing that I firmly believe is tucked away into the depths of innumerable hearts that pulse with a longing for freedom. Not from physical bondage, but the freedom of an emotional and spiritual uniqueness that cannot be quelled or restrained. It is the freedom of self-expression that separates the eagle from the lemming in the web of life.  One can choose to blindly follow others into the pages of history, or to break free, catch the updraft of our own desire to reach our full potential, and soar into a brave new journey of constant discovery. 

Throughout my own experience, I have longed for that end; to discover who I am. Far too often though, I hide myself in a myriad of interests, activities, and pursuits that masquerade themselves as the means to an end. But, as many others have often discovered, even the best of disguises wear thin, walls crumble, and sooner or later, we must look into the mirrors of our lives and assess who we really are as  individuals. Personally, this has been a fairly traumatic endeavor. When all the layers of the “pseudo-me” are stripped away, I find myself in a very vulnerable position, exposed, and hardly recognizing the core of my own being.  It is a frightening experience, not being able to distinguish my own person from the expectations that I, as well as others, erect.  At that point, I realize that I no longer know who I am.  It is then, with much fear and trepidation that I set out to re-discover the core of my being and cast off the shackles of ordinary human existence that constrain the very fiber of my soul. And so, feeling much more like a faltering sparrow than a soaring eagle, I set out on my journey…..No longer will I act as a lemming, desperately running a complacent path to self-destruction. Today, still a faltering sparrow, learning to spread my wings, but one day, I will mount up with wings outstretched, catch the updraft, and soar into the brave new journey called life. 

I had no idea what that updraft would look like, or where life would take me. But here I am, at the end of another year, and for the first time, when I take stock of what I have and what I haven’t, I find that, for the first time, I know EXACTLY who I am, what I believe, where I’m going, and, as someone wiser than me promised to keep telling me until I believed it —

IT’S BEEN WORTH IT.

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