Goodbye is the Hardest Word to Say

There are a lot of people that come and go in your life. Your childhood best friend, your first boyfriend or girlfriend, college roommates… You get the idea.

I've done a lot in my short time in existence, which just recently hit the 26 year mark. I've lived all over the place, up and moved across the country three times. I am lucky enough to have friends all over the state, the country and the world. It never fails that I will be in a random city, for a random reason and I bump into someone I know. Just last week my friend slash coworker Amy, aka @adifran, and I went to Blue Springs Missouri for a Think First event.

Amy and I weren't there more than ten minutes before two people came up to me, a classmate from Advanced Photography and a guy who couldn't quite pin down from where exactly he knew me. A little later I bumped into a friend of a friend.  

A couple of years ago Ryan and I were in Chicago, about to hop onto the L when, what do you know, someone who pledged my fraternity recognized me. He and his girlfriend road with us to our stop, we talked old times and parted at the next stop. 

But then there are those really special people in your life. The people you don't expect or don't even realize how much they mean to you until it sneaks up on you. 

As a kid there were these people in my life. My brother Patrick who I looked up to as most little brothers do. I wanted to be just like him for the longest time. I don't think he ever really knew how much I wanted to follow in his footsteps. Even today, when I need that really big life changing type of advice, he's the first on my list. He was the first family member I came out to. Without his support I wouldn't be where I am today.

The next person in my life was my cousin David. David and I were best friends from childhood. We summered on the beach every year together, we went to the Cayman Islands together, we built forts, we did all the things you do with your best friend… breaking into swimming pools, talking shit, camping out, you know the drill. When I decided I was going to move to California David was the first person on my list of people I wanted to live with. A couple of weeks later the two of us were driving to California for an adventure like we'd nothing we'd ever dreamed of.

In high school there was Joseph. I could tell Joseph anything, he could tell me anything. Together we somehow survived uniquely difficult junior and senior years. It seemed like our friendship blossomed overnight. One day we were two parts of a huge clique of friends, the next day we were best friends. Our nights were shared going out to dinner at Chipotle or Macaroni Grill, driving up and down FM 1960 blasting hip hop music, buying music and finding comfort in our shared company. Always kind, always funny, always there for me and up for just about anything.

One way or another I said goodbye to each of these people. Patrick is married to the most amazing person in the world and living off in Houston. David is also married, which is a bit of a shocker, he always was such a heart breaker. Joseph, this was perhaps the most surprising. He's in Korea teaching English, getting a law degree and generally exploring the East in a way that would make Dhani Jones jealous.

I would argue that the hardest part of goodbye is the feeling of emptiness it leaves you. There are these people who have made such a strong impact on your life, they have shown you love, they have taught you about yourself and the world, they have been there for the good and the bad through laughter and tears, love and pain. What they leave behind is a pit, an endless abyss of negativity. You are happy for their ability to move on, move up and move out. You know you'll see them again, that you can talk on the phone or online and that you'll still be friends for life. But your heart fights reason.

Your heart reminds you of everything they were to you, everything that is now lost.

These are holes you are certain can never be filled back in by anyone or anything else.

Enter Chase. 

Chase entered my life after I abruptly moved back to Columbia from California. Little did we know we were dancing around each other nearly our entire lives. From living in the same part of Houston, to the same part of Tulsa. We went to the same concerts, even an obscure Jason Mraz concert my senior year of high school. We both loved the same music, the same obsession with technology, movies and shows. Who would have thought that this total stranger would become like a brother to me?

I have Chase to thank for a lot. Would I have Ryan in my life without Chase? I'm not so sure! He brought so much to my life in a really unexpected way. At the time I didn't really have many straight guy friends. Most of my friends were other gay guys or girls who attracted gay guys like moths to a flame. I have Chase to thank for the next two people on the list. 

Corey, over there on the left eating Dave's bicep.

The first night I met Corey I thought… David? He reminded me so much of my cousin and proved to be just as cool, fun, exciting and generally bad ass. A little over a year ago I realized just how important Corey was in my life. He and chase moved to Blue Springs with their band to do the music thing full time. All of a sudden I felt this emptiness like I hadn't felt in a long time.

When Ryan was in the hospital and with a dangerous prognosis, Corey was the one I went to. He comforted me in a moment of absolute vulnerability. I was emotionally drained, physically shaken and felt like the world was closing in around me. I drove from the hospital to Corey's work. I made it all the way to the counter before I broke down into a sobbing mess. 

Corey brought me the level of comfort, compassion and love I needed so dearly. He held me, dried my tears and absorbed some of my fear and despair.

And in then there is Sam. An incredible photography, a fantastic musician (like Chase and Corey), passionate, funny and ridiculously in touch with his feelings and the feelings of others. There is nothing I couldn't share with Sam. His heart is pure and his mind is open.

It's a little funny how when I think about Sam my words begin to fail me. In place of words are memories, his last night in town at the Snorty Horse, Scouts concerts, bar hopping around town, photography talks, trivia nights, tequila shots at The Artisan… Thinking about these memories literally brings a smile to my face. He shares a heart and humor paralleled by only one other person I've ever had enter my life, my high school best friend, Joseph.

I get lost in the memories of these three guys. A mixture of happiness and sadness overflows me. This time a few months ago we were hanging out and then, one by one they moved away. Sam was the first to go followed by Corey and then Chase. They moved up, on and away in the exact opposite way that they entered my life.

Not going to lie. The night Sam left, signifying the inevitable end of one of the best periods of my life, I was a big ol' mess. Cried my freaking eyes out. 

A lot of people have entered my life. These people came and went, they made their impact. They were friends, roommates, classmates, boyfriends… They were for me the most important people in my life at the time.

Things were different with Chase, Corey and Sam. For the second time in my life I felt an endless sense of loss. There was something unique to these three people that affected me in a way only my brother, my cousin David and my best friend Joseph had before. It was in the night that I said goodbye to Sam that I realized something. That whole left ages ago had somehow been filled by these three guys. I realized that there are people put into your life to fill a certain purpose. To help you grow, learn and love.

Twice in my life I've had this experience. Who could ever expect to be so lucky?

I put off writing this blog post for quite a while. June 22 I started writing and over a month later I'm here to finish it. Why am I finishing it now? Well I got some other big news late last month. Ryan, arguably the most important person in my life will also be leaving. We're both excited, scared, nervous and happy about the big change we're both about to experience. In a few weeks Ryan will be living in San Francisco and I will have to say goodbye, temporarily as I stay here in Columbia.

But that's another day and another post.

Sam, Corey and Chase moving away was incredibly hard on me. I felt that familiar emptiness. But today I smile at the prospect of visiting Sam in Seattle, Corey in Florida and the incredible excitement at Chase's wedding in December. They will be a part of my life for the rest of my life and I can't wait to see where we all end up. Who knows, we might some day find ourselves back in the same city together, drinking PBRs and grilling some burgers.

I can't wait to see what happens next!

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Independence Day Eve

I can't help but want to watch the Will Smith movie, Independence Day every Fourth of July.  Just say'n.

Some how I managed to miss all the fireworks this Independence Day weekend.  No worries, I had a great time with my friends drinking wine, listening to music and chowing down. David, Alex and I headed out to Les Bourgeois for their BBQ, live music, wine and awesome view of the river.

There were a ton of people there, not an open table in sight. Luckily this really nice, really redneck, family gave us some room at their table.

One thing I love about Les Bourgeois is the dramatic shifts in populations there. One moment someone is in heels and a sun dress and the next it's a guy in his rugby outfit. You just never know what you're going to get.  All you really do know is there will be a lot of people there enjoying a lot of wine and some of the best food Mid-Missouri has to offer.  Seriously good food.

Unfortunately it started raining, and then it stopped and then it started again… Yeah, so we went back to Columbia, before the fireworks show started. I got dinner at Flat Branch and then we headed to Tropical Liqueurs.

There we met up, by accident, with some friends both old and new. I have lived in Columbia for seven years and I still seem to meet new people regularly. That's pretty awesome.

Off to the condo where we watched a horrendous "scary" movie called The Fourth Kind.

Despite the lame movie, the Third of July turned out to be one of the best Fourth of Julys I've had in a long time. Good friends can do that.

On second thought… all the more reason to be sad about so many of my friends moving away!

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School’s Almost Out, Life Goes On

Oh how I can’t wait for school to be over, for good.  Alas, we all know Justin will never be graduating from college… well a least not this year, which is incredibly annoying/depressing/etc.  I’ve been in school for ages now, way longer than I should have been in school.

Of course, lots of great things have happened because of my extended college career.  I made so many incredible friends, realized engineering wasn’t for me.  Neither was psychology, pre-law, sociology, philosophy… you get the point.

I’ve “settled” on a sort of triple major.  I get one degree with an emphasis on three topics.  For me it’s Political Science, Gender Studies and Photography.  I love all three of those and it opens a lot of doors for me, especially with the PoliSci and Photography portions.

But first I’ve gotta get out of school right?

This summer I have the options of summer school, internships or traveling.  I want to do an internship in Europe but my parents moving to Saudi Arabia makes me want to see them a lot this summer, so maybe an internship in Houston… but then I’d like to get some classes out of the way so summer school?

Hate living like this!

Oh yeah, then there’s being away from Ryan.  I really don’t want to spend the summer states, much less oceans, away from him.  But I guess we can’t put our future together on the back burner so we can spend the present together.  The sooner I graduate, the sooner we can move on with our life together.

Get out of school and then let’s move back to California where I can be with so many of my amazing friends… Sean, Kevin, Mark, David, Kayla, Matt…

Until then, here I am, one class at a time.  I now live through another graduation season where I lose more of my friends.  This year I’m going to miss most Chase and Corey, moving to Kansas City.  Congratulations on them for moving on with their band, Scouts, which is awesome.  But going to miss my boys.

And worse yet, Karen is moving to St. Louis. Major sadness over that, first Micheal and now Karen. Blurg. What’s this city going to?

Luckily Phoebe, Joshua, Laura and Eric Cox etc etc are still here.  Ryan and I will stay sane for a bit longer.

Easter Brunch

Yeah yeah… I’m way late at blogging this.

Josh (@brooding_soul) joined Karen (@ok2baprincess) and I for Easter Brunch. Karen and I were invited to brunch at Will and Roger’s loft in St. Louis. I met Will and Roger at Alan (@alangeor), Joe and David’s (@clementdk) loft-warming party.

You all met Will and Roger from the pictures in that loft-warming party post.

There were a lot of other people there, including Jimmy (@jholman23), all as fun, unique and interesting as the other.  A wonderful crowd, what better way to celebrate the resurrection of Christ than with a room full of gays? (Ok ok, there were two straight couples but seriously…)

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Will and Roger had quite a spread for us, all of the food was delicious and the home-made sangria, intoxicating (literally).

Roger sure knows how to make food that’s all sorts of delicious.

We had a great time eating, drinking and chatting it up, it seemed to go on for hours and leaving was definitely not something I wanted to do but, alas, homework called.

I went to Jimmy’s to pick up Josh, they had left a little earlier. We got some dinner just before heading out back to Columbia.  It was a great weekend and a great time in the car with Josh (we sang karaoke style the entire way home).

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What To Do…?

Let’s get a solid back story here before I continue with the current situation.

I moved back to Columbia and brainstormed with Jim this great idea that we could move in together in this three bedroom apartment off campus with his boyfriend David. I didn’t really know David but he seemed like a nice enough guy, plus he was from Texas so I liked him that much more

Things worked out just fine for a good while. I mean, I had to do most if not all of the cleaning and every once in a while David would drink too much and be a little annoying. Nothing really bothered me too much except that I never got to hang out with Jim.

When I first moved in, I was super busy with work, I had about 40 hours a week over at Starbucks on top of class work. When my eyes got fucked up, again, I had to cut my hours to around 12-20 per week and then further when I got sick from the other stuff.

At one point I was pretty damn sick, I even had to take a cab to the emergency room. This was followed by three surgeries and some annoying preparatory and recovery procedures. Throughout all of this I never asked for a ride or anything special, except one time I did ask Jim if he could bring me to the hospital for my surgery, unfortunately he had class and couldn’t, that’s fine, I understood completely and never asked again.

Right before David moved out to finish his graduate requirements in Houston, he had this big drunken fit. He called me an asshole and many other mean and untrue things. It seemed then that he thought I didn’t want him to be with Jim and that I wanted to be with Jim.

Oh yeah, Jim and I dated years ago, for a few months. It never progressed to anything as serious as Jim’s last two relationships and we had both moved on completely, absolutely completely.

Jim and David moved out completely last… Saturday. Jim had asked if I could get the cable box to Mediacom that Friday or Thursday if he didn’t make it in time. I let him know that I would try but my last two days, Monday and Tuesday, in Columbia were already packed with work during Mediacom’s hours of operation and errands I had to run to get my shit together with my new apartment, work and planning for the rest of the summer. On Tuesday I literally had every hours planned out with appointments, ask Kevin, Geoff, Curtis, Chadd, my family…

Furthermore, I had told Jim that he could take it back whenever he wanted as all of my television watching was now done with my AppleTV. I only watched regular television in my bedroom or otherwise basic cable broadcast, I didn’t use the cable box function, at all.

Tuesday night I got out of work at 12:30am (which is actually Wednesday morning of course) and Geoff was kind enough to pick me up at Columbia Autobody about 10 miles north of town around 1:00am and bring me home. I finished laundry, packed my stuff up and at 4:30 a bus picked me up to bring me to the Saint Louis Airport.

On Monday or perhaps early Tuesday, I told Jim that I might not be able to make it to Mediacom until I got back into town, which would be a Sunday, the 17th, Mediacom opens the next day, Monday. I won’t have my car until the afternoon on Monday and I work in the afternoon Monday so who knows when I will actually be able to pick up my car, probably Tuesday.

David sent me a text message tonight because he was mad that I didn’t make it to Mediacom.

DSC_5552.JPG

I was immediately floored.  No one likes to get messages like that, especially when you feel that you are totally innocent of any wrongdoing.  Jim understood that I would try, but just as he had run out of time, I did not have the time.  I was stressed out about getting just my stuff done.  With a co-worker’s baby on the way, I had been given extra shifts, working as much as 14 hours a day on top of moving to my new place, planning and organizing trips to Austin, Houston, Indianapolis, Chicago, San Francisco and Santa Rosa, New York, Washington DC, Nashville and South Carolina.  Plus trying to figure out how I would pay for these trips and still afford to finish off my apartment.

Despite what some people think, I’m not rich and I don’t get everything I want from my parents.  If I can’t afford something right away, I save up my paychecks and wait until I can.  I’m very good at saving the money before products come out so I can get them as they arrive, such as the AppleTV and Airport Extreme and my iPods and such.

I called Jim to apologize if I had upset him and let him know that I would get it returned as soon as I could.  I also told him that David had sent me that really mean, unwarranted text message.  The phone service out here in the hill country isn’t so great and we got cut off twice, through kind words.  He apologized for David which isn’t something he should have done or had to do.  Jim had written me earlier saying if I could just get it done when I get back, OK.

Then I got another message from David.

David's 2nd Evil message

It just never ends.  I’m not sure what to do.  Micheal told me to just ignore David and not respond to him, save the friendship I have with Jim and forget that David and I had ever had this one sided conversation.

I have never responded to David’s accusations, his quips and whips.  I have never voiced my opinions of David to Jim and have never actively done anything to David.  He has used my computer to log into his email on Gmail.  He has printed from my printer or at least taken ALL of the paper out of my printer four times, the last time being their last day in Columbia.  Nothing like pulling an all-nighter to find your printer out of paper right before you have to run to class and turn in your report.

This summer I have been really enjoying work.  I have been hanging out with great old friends and making new ones.  I have made more new friends this semester than I ever expected; Ryan, Beau, Scott, Chadd, Justin, Nick, Carrie, John, Justin, Justin, Michelle, Jessica2, Scott…

I’m going to be in Washington DC for some eleven days visiting Landon and experiencing the Fourth of July at our Capital.  I really hope to hang out with Jim while I’m there and to spend some time exploring the city with Geoff when he arrives later in the week.  I am going to have a blast hanging out with Landon and his friends and expect to share those experiences with Jim.  We have been great friends through so much for so long.  We have helped each other through heartbreak, through depression and through some soul searching.  We have shared so many wonderful experiences and have grown up together into completely different people than the ones we were when we first met in 2003.

I love you Jim.I don’t think I’m a loser.  I think I’m a really nice guy with a winner personality and lots of wonderful friends like many of you reading my blog right now.  I don’t think I would have you as friends if I were a “fucking prick” a “loser” an “asshole”.

Now that that is out of the way, I’m going to get some sleep.  I have a busy day ahead of myself.

Now it’s Time to Bitch

Ok, I gave you a somewhat muted post, now I just wanna get some shit out.

  • Don’t tell me we are going to hang out and not call me back, much less hang out with me.
  • Don’t tell me you don’t like something about me that was month, years ago and not present.  Why would I care now?  What does it matter?
  • Don’t tell me you really like me and then blow me off, you obviously don’t really like me.
  • Don’t tell me we should hang out and you miss being around me and then hang out with my roommate instead.
  • Don’t act like I’m not in the same room as you.
  • Don’t blame everything on your period.  A menstrual cycle is rough, sure, I’ll give you that, but it isn’t a month long and you can take a god-damned Mydol you know.
  • Don’t tell me you find me attractive if you don’t.
  • Don’t tell me to call you if you know you aren’t going to answer your phone.
  • Don’t act like you want to date me and then go out with another guy.
  • Don’t schedule me for only 15 hours a week and then complain about availability when there are people wanting hours and you just won’t give them to them.
  • Don’t fucking wait for the light to turn yellow before driving through the intersection, you really slow down my day.
  • Don’t ignore me.
  • Don’t keep calling me like it’s your business.
  • Don’t send me anymore credit card applications.  I have too many cards already.
  • Don’t push me to drink alcohol.  It won’t make you more attractive.
  • Don’t dance if you can’t.
  • Don’t sing if you can’t, it isn’t even funny at this point.
  • Don’t keep dating the same guy and then crying when he breaks up with you, again and again.
  • Don’t judge me for the music I listen to.  If I cared what you thought, I’d ask.
  • Don’t leave me annoying, long-winded voice messages.
  • Don’t forget that we used to be best friends.
  • Don’t forget that we used to be in love.
  • Don’t say you will when you both know you won’t.
  • Don’t say you can when we both know you can’t.
  • Don’t think that this is referring to you.
  • Don’t think this is about someone else, it isn’t.
  • Don’t get drunk all the time.
  • Don’t judge people so much, and no, you aren’t fat so stop acting like you are.
  • Don’t be so dramatic, you aren’t that special and if you were, we’d have you admitted.
  • Don’t fear love so fucking much, just let it happen.
  • Don’t think you are better than me because you got a promotion.  That just means they sucked you in and you won’t ever make a solid living.
  • Don’t forget that in five years I will be making triple what you make.
  • Don’t think it’s all about the money, it rarely really is.
  • Don’t let your thoughts invade mine, it gets me in a fit.
  • Don’t throw basketballs at my car, it costs me a-fucking-lot of money to get that shit fixed.
  • Don’t be such a whore, spreading your seed isn’t safe or wholesome.
  • Don’t have such low self-esteem.
  • Don’t think so highly of yourself, your ego is way outta control.
  • Don’t act like you’re right when you aren’t, arguing isn’t fun, especially with you.
  • Don’t punch through bathroom doors.
  • Don’t drop out of my sublease, you bastard.
  • Don’t stress me out so much, I get all weird and make posts like this.
  • Don’t tell me you love me and then take it back the next day, that’s just trashy.
  • Don’t be such a bitch to me
  • Don’t manage a store if you can’t handle it.
  • Don’t forget all the times I did something for you.
  • Don’t forget my sacrifices.
  • Don’t forget my mistakes, being here is one of them.

There, I feel a little better.