After my first (let's call it eventful!) Oak Lawn night out, I knew that I'd eventually be returning for a do-over. Not that a do-over is what I was after exactly. Because it wasn't...not exactly. A do-over implies there needs to be something corrected or that what took place initially was somehow flawed - and I don't believe that it was. Sure, it wasn't my finest hour, but it certainly wasn't my worst, and the truth of it is: I had a really good time! I guess what I wanted was just another chance to see what I could do, another chance to see what's what "out there." So I've adopted the stance that all of this new "stuff" I'm feelin' out - as well as the old stuff that I'm approaching from a hopefully wiser perspective - is just an experiment of sorts, or a game. Moments in time that I should use for joy, as a way to charm and amuse myself - with no worries. Just experiencing what I experience, noticing what takes place - and then deciding who I am and what's true for me in relationship to that.
So when Silas and I hooked up last Friday night, we both thought it would be fun to give "the strip" another go. And aside from a few cracks at watching what I drink, he honestly didn't seem all that anxious or expectant of the worst. That first night had clearly been let go of and he was there just for the fun of it - which usually seems to be the case with him. Quite the guru I have in my corner!
I admit that I was nervous again...and that I drank again. I sought out that good ol' "liquid courage." (Not really a fan of that phrase, though. In my opinion, ultimate courageousness would have been facing things completely sober - but whatevs; I got no qualms; baby steps are all I'm taking. It is what it is.) The good news is: this time I used my beverages as servings of "liquid lighten-up" in lieu of last time's "liquid dumbass." I spaced them out and managed to stay contently buzzed. And I had a blast! Silas told me later that if he hadn't known me, he would never have suspected my shy nature, as, from the corner of his eye, he "watched me do my thing." He says that I have a charisma he thinks I've begun to tap in to. I don't know about that. All I know is that I had a lovely time chatting with strangers, and how remarkable and cool I think it is that we got some phone numbers, and how we laughed! The alcohol does make it easier to slip out of the story that "I am different," or "I am nervous." It frees me up to engage with the person in front of me instead of the story that locks me up and keeps me separate. But it's a fine line, drinking. If you go too far, yes, it can take away the anxiety, but it can also wipe out your good qualities too - like the ability, and desire, to stay present with the people you're with, for instance; the ability to listen and be there. It really is about keeping light and loose. For me, the point is to help me connect - not disappear. And I can see that difference now. I like to think, though, that eventually I won't even feel the urge to rely on that.
But in the meantime, I'm cool. It's all getting easier and I just can't say how exciting this is. I feel like I've redeemed myself not only with my queer brethren strangers, but with Silas.
I know I have with me.