Well at last it seems like things are actually happening. And it’s not for our lack of trying that they weren’t really happening before. You realise that, after a while. There’s just sometimes nothing you can do. I’m horrible at learning that lesson. I always think I’m the exception, or that that was last time I’d be helpless. Anyway, this isn’t about that exactly.
I’ve been writing and calling back west a lot, not so much for motivation as for reassurance post-action. Believe it or not I think there is a huge difference. I do things here the way I think they need to be done, and sometimes I need to know that it’s not the new place getting to me, and that I did what I ought to have. Needing instruction to take action is another side of another coin for another time.
So now things, as if part of nature, are looking like they’re finally in bloom. The weather has picked up, and I quite appreciate the sun making its way down to my face this last week. It doesn’t go unnoticed. Al has a potential job lined up, July is getting closer, and university will be requesting my presence soon after that. This post, though, is really more about the past than the future. I get a lot of time these days to just sit and stew and worry…and look back. I honestly can’t believe myself, sometimes.
People often ask how Al and I ended up becoming a couple. How did you meet ? Why did I come to Scotland ? What does your family think about it ?
I won’t go into any great detail about how Al and I ended up being a couple, because to be honest I still can’t fully explain it. I was often bored and on the computer looking for music and music enthusiasts, and I found lots of others who were the same. He was one of those others and it just kind of happened. I had, even before Al, had an affinity with the British culture that once again is really something I can’t fully explain. I bugged all my friends, told all my teachers, and my parents that I was going to go — no matter what. It just so happened that my trip was far on enough that by the time I went, I was really wanting to fit in meeting Al and seeing where that went.
When I look back on that I kind of see the beauty of motivated naiveté. I went to the UK, alright. After I landed a job at a call centre, took the graveyard shift for the extra pay, and took on full-time and overtime for almost 6 months. I worked so hard and had so much fun at that job, but there’s a time and a place for everything I guess. When was I ever going to be having fun pulling 52 hour weeks again?
I landed in London, took a train to meet a friend who said he’d kindly house me (because I had stupidly not booked a hotel for that night thinking that I was landing the next day), and he made me tea and food and we listened to his records and I listened to his stories about the music. Next I was off to see another friend up in Kent who opened his place up to me. I will be eternally grateful for that experience. He and his girlfriend remain two of my favourite people in the world. Onward. I went north. There was a lot of wayward traveling in the Lake District, the Trossachs, and other such nonsense before I came and met Al. We hit it off. He was everything he’d ever been.
Those next few days would make my next few years a weird mixture of hellish torture and beady-eyed wonder. Oh, and lots of determination.
I got serious about university (at last) and began to really try to do my best. Maybe it was my own way of keeping myself busy between the large amounts of time at home without Al. My pinpoint was no longer the UK, but a town near Glasgow, where a tall and talented man with long hair and a sailor’s cap resided.
There was a long time where I kept this relationship quiet. From friends and family. And then just from family. Where I come from is not the most worldly of places. El Paso is rich in culture and eccentricities of its own, but sometimes it just scratches its head at things beyond. Even after everyone knew I was going to Scotland to visit Al every holiday and that I wanted to move, no one could quite understand how or why. All I knew was I just had to.
Now that I’ve moved, I still look west and wonder if certain people thought they were going to call my bluff. Those friends who I initially bored to tears about how cool and amazing the UK would be were no longer around by the time I went and came back.
Aside from getting all this out, I think my point is that I really am a do-er. I’m a do-er because I can be. Despite not much happening these last few months, what I have been able to control I have been able to stand beside with a genuine and happy pride. I come from a place with lots of dreamers who lose the will or the ability to turn those ideas into reality. I look back and I’m so happy I didn’t listen or get discouraged when people (friends, family, strangers) tried to tell me how hard it would be or how lonely or how scary.
It is hard. It would have been hard back home too. And though I miss my friends and family like hell, it is not lonely.
I was lucky enough to have the support of my mom, my stepdad, and my dad along this journey. They didn’t know it, but early on in life what they taught me was to just go for all you can. I remained fearless for so long I suppose because they made me feel like there was nothing to fear. Even though I was the strangest looking tye dye-clad kid you ever did see. I never felt like I had to be anything but what I wanted to be. That has shaped me so much. It didn’t hurt to have a younger brother, a partner in crime who was the good looks and the comedic relief whenever things got unsure.
Believe it or not there were years before I wanted to make my way to the UK. Before I could point out Glasgow on a map. Those days I spent being wonderfully weird. Listening to Janis Joplin, The Doors, and Jefferson Airplane over and over and over and over. I used to wear so many necklaces and bracelets that they left giant bands of tanlines on my neck and arms. I wore different coloured shoes and my wardrobe had any given array of moods from goth to prom (even though I never went to prom). I could do polished or pajamas. In those years I pushed so many people for so many reasons. What would teachers do if I had headphones on all of class? How many different ways can I try to almost get in trouble? What saved me was almost always me knowing where the line was and using my winning personality to get across it.
I remember actually being allowed to be tardy and other students getting upset. I remember finding my voice writing a column in the high school newspaper every month. I remember ditching classes in the donut shop or sometimes in other classes. I remember always being strange with a hint of charm. I mean, I never had no friends. There were always people willing to hang around and have a laugh together. Like I said, it all comes back to being at home and being able to, as a real young kid, have friends around, have access to paints or markers or crayons, to music, to the outdoors, to psychedelic posters and lava lamps. I was able to be me, always. And once you have that, whether you are lucky enough to have it from the start or whether you get it much later in life, you know that nothing else beats it.
Sometimes you hit a wall, but it’s only there until you find a hammer.
A glimpse at the formative years.
my brother, myself, and Jazz in the Gila.