Part XXI: Orientation Adjustment…
I had beaten the bottle. Before that, I had beaten indoctrination. Had I really beaten suicide? What about the medications? Aren’t they just drugs? Weren’t they just messing me up? Making things worse? Or were they really responsible for some of my improvements? I’d been on them consistently since the hospital. It was hard to say with no basis for comparison. I thought back about when I first met Damien. We were at work. I had just made some gay jokes with him on the floor, and now we were in the break room together… Alone…
* * *
“Are you gay?” he wasn’t beating around the bush at all. He went straight to the point.
I was a little flustered, and there was nervous laughter, “What kind of question is that?”
“What part of the question don’t you understand,” he reiterated without wavering, “The ‘are,’ the ‘you,’ or the, ‘gay’?”
Well, I was attracted to him. And a lot of other guys. Slowly, throughout the years, I gradually realised it myself. I had just never said it out loud. Until now. “Yes,” I told him, “I think I am. But, I’m in the closet. Don’t tell anyone.”
He had agreed not to tell anyone, but he didn’t think I should keep it to myself either. I don’t think it was any one thing he said, but I ultimately decided that being gay was no big deal, and I should neither hide nor flaunt it. I didn’t need to “come out,” because heterosexuals don’t have to do that, and there’s no reason I should be held to a different standard.
My family and friends were mostly unsurprised. They wondered when I was going to come out.
Damien and I grew very close. We hung out a lot. This is really when my heavy drinking began. Damien and I went out together a lot and drank a lot. Most of our sex was under the influence of alcohol, as was our horrible decision to start dating.
* * *
Not that it wasn’t fun, but I was very out of control. And, if I were this out of control now how much worse would be be off medications? I decided that I’d stay on them for now.
But it wasn’t long after I made my decision before my friend, Alex, called. It seems he, too, was convinced to take psychotropics. And I knew he was fine before. Now, I have to get off.