Back in the Picture

(Photo: A smile marking a turning point in my life, and I am forever changed.)

(This entry was originally posted to the Gay and Lesbian Youth of New York reunion message board the evening of Monday, April 16, 2007).

Well here I am, my last night in New York, leaving tomorrow to finally head back to my life in Chicago. I’ve already spoken my peace about Saturday night and seeing you all again. But my momentary anxiety got the better of me and I never did tell you at that table at Sammy’s what I thought of you all. Last night, on the spur of the moment, Barbara and Jennifer and Scott got to hear. I want the rest of you to know, too.

I never realized how important my GLYNY years were to me before this reunion of us all. I had long forgotten how much we meant to each other–and I’m sure I didn’t truly even realize it back then. But you are all a part of me. We remember the past in revision when we’re able to remember it at all. I remembered my past in GLYNY as fun, but I remembered myself in GLYNY as unpopular, and on the sidelines. I cared for you all. My shyness and, as you all recall, my anger back then blinded me from seeing that you cared for me, too.

The day before I came to New York for what accidentally turned out to be this GLYNY reunion, I was happy. I was content in my life, secure in myself, and did not feel alone or unjoyful in the slightest.

I return to Chicago knowing the lie in that. I return feeling completed, feeling whole, for the first time since I can remember. And it is you, my brothers and sisters, who complete me. I have no recollection of mourning your absence. Yet, after a few short days spent variously in your company, I cannot imagine my life moving forward without you in it.

The tender joys of interacting with each of you, the laughter, the tears, the comfort we have shared in far too short a time, has been an unexpected mercy visited upon a soul dangerously close to forgetting the worth of abandon. I am 17 again. I am joyous. I am alive. I am changed for the better.

And I have you all to thank. I am deeply honored for the fond rembrances of a youth too full of piss and vinegar for his own good. I am without words to express how much I love you all. Thank you for finding me. Thank you for finding me now.

I look forward to spending the rest of my life with you in it.

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