Monday, August 31, 2015

Loring Park Episode #54: The Pride of Stevens Square

Today wasn't fun.

I'm trying hard to get excited for Pride. Maybe it's because I think I'm getting old or have a gut or don't feel like I can afford to go anywhere (not that such a thought will stop me. Did I mention I'm in debt consolidation? And that I am not in debt because of hardship but because of serious impulse control problems?) I must remind myself that this weekend is not about looking good in swim trunks but about freedom of expression, self-acceptance, and being lucky enough to spend time with supportive family and friends.

While driving to South Dakota last weekend, I put in a mix CD called "Songs About Leaving", that I made when I knew I was leaving UW-Stout (ultimately one of the saddest chapters of my life, but that's for an entirely different novel). I had no idea what songs would be on there, only that I knew none of them would be older than 2007 (I am OLD, my children). Track #9 was "My Wish" by Rascal Flatts. I remember my mother loved that song and encouraged me to put it on CD mixes for all the young people in her life. And even though our relationship was absolutely terrible at that time, I had appreciated her for thinking that, and resented myself that I was too blinded by anger to see her the way my friends did.
And then I bawled my eyes out until the song was over because even though I didn't graduate from either of the colleges I went to and I'm *still* being helped by my parents on the edge of 30, I was driving four and a half hours by myself to a venue in which I was going to get paid because people believed I was actually talented and good at something and worth the amount I requested.

I never saw the contract until after the trip and I was supposed to do a lot more work than I actually did. Lesson #300: Always check your e-mail if you're going to be a professional, and being worried about a Christian radio host replying to a novel you sent her at 3:11 in the morning is not an excuse to avoid your e-mail. In a tangent, she wrote me back and it was absolutely breathtaking. Her name is Susie Larson and her show is called "Live the Promise" and today the topic was about avoiding WORRY. I am sending her a Christmas card, but because this is me, she probably won't get it until February.

I have been missing somebody to the point of insomnia, chest pain and gastric distress. I am learning it's okay. From the first time we met I had been convinced that this person greatly needed ME, but now I have realized how self-centered such a notion is. This is a person who needs God and a good therapist, and there's not a damn thing I can do about it. Our last conversation ended with "I'm gonna need a few days" before the car door shut and sped away in the darkness. That was 57 days ago. Not that I am counting.

A month later I would have a nervous breakdown in the parking lot of a hospital and a nurse in a yellow sweater found me and walked me to my appointment. If you are going to have a nervous breakdown, do it at a hospital. Everyone acts like it's totally normal. Yellow is a calming color. Rosie O'Donnell has written essays about yellow, how it is the color of everything that is real and how she felt fame took it away from her. I tweeted her about my meltdown and that the nurse wore yellow. "Nurses r the best," she wrote back. My mother is a nurse. This is not a coincidence.

I have no idea where I was going with this.  -Facebook rant, June 24th 

I was in a strange mood as Pride loomed. It wasn't just about my body. I mean, yes, I should work out, and I was never fat, nor was I ever ripped in years previous, but this is my last summer of my twenties (kind of) and maybe I was projecting.

The first omen that things would turn around happened when my boss said I could be off on Friday! I was leery of asking for Thursday and Friday off since I had asked for every other weekend off in June due to the Sioux Falls gig and my uncle's wedding. Jared wanted to host a big Pre-Pride party on Friday and I had planned on working until six o'clock and coming home to bitch at everyone.

I used this same .gif during last year's Pride episode! Thursday night I met Jared and Joey at Honey for Flip Phone, which is one of the first unofficial events of Pride. Just like last year, I totally forgot how long the line was going to be! I was late because I was Nairing at my mother's house. "Jacob!" she cried. "That smell is going to burn down the house!"

 Joey and Jared let me do cutsies and I immediately felt the rage of those who were behind us and pretending to be our friends. It still took us 45 minutes to get in because the club was at capacity.

"This line is longer than my last relationship," I lamented.
"If this was your last relationship there wouldn't even be a line!" cried Jared.

It should be noted that my Grindr profile says I just got out of a really bad non-relationship and I still think that way.

It took us about 45 minutes to get into Honey, but once we did, it was its usual blast. I did the "Heartbreaker" rap while dancing with Under Armour and he was impressed because he hasn't seen me do it 50 times like everybody else has.

Little did all of us know how our lives would be changed forever the next day.