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Thinking again.

It's come to my attention that I have a very strained relationship with my past. I vacillate between trying to avoid it and put it behind me, and hyper-focusing on it with wistful thoughts. It's probably not the healthiest thing in the world.

This came to light in a heavy way yesterday. Despite all my intentions to never do so, I opened a new Facebook account, under my legal name. I already have an account with the "Phillip Wolf" name. It was amusing for a second, all my kinky friends found me and friended me, and then I pretty much forgot about it due to it having next to no value for me whatsoever.

But yesterday, my mind turned once again to folks from my previous lives... college friends, acquaintances. I started poking around Facebook to see if there were any applicable groups where my old compatriots might be hanging out, and I found many. I realized that if I wanted to look at the photos that might be hidden within, I would need to join the groups, and thus either use my scene last name and come out to all the college folks as a filthy pervert, or start anew.

I decided to start anew.

So here I am with this new account, and before I can blink almost 15 old college friends and I are linked up. I'm chatting with one who I haven't spoken to since I left those frozen upstate hills back for the city post-graduation. She gives me a summary of her life, and I try to give mine. It's kind of tough when your life is filled with joys coming from SM and alternative sex, and you're talking to people whose lives are portraits of normal family sitcom life.

I realize I have some issues here.



You see, in college, most of my life was spent wondering if I was going to gain the acceptance of my peers. I was always standing just one step to the left of everyone else. Most of my friends were members of a certain fraternity or their sister sorority. A fraternity I never got an offer to pledge from due to some drunken sentence I uttered to a senior brother during my freshman year that showed my ignorance on how fraternities work. A fraternity I rushed 4 years in a row, to be rejected all 4 times. The 1st, already mentioned. I rushed the 2nd time because my closest friends, who were now brothers, convinced me that with them in I would be a shoe-in, and they would fight for me. They lost. The 3rd and 4th years? I rushed mainly to be a pain in the ass.

I harbored a lot of resentment due to those years of consecutive rejection. I could hang with my best friends and roommates... until it was time for them to do frat things, and then I was left home. I always felt like my belonging to this group of people was very limited, broken in a way. Friendship for me acknowledged, and yet, I felt almost pitied. I rebelled against the frat, wearing a set of Greek letters that were meant to mock the fraternity I was so longing to join. It was supposed to give me satisfaction... the feeling of being a rebel, the wild one. Instead I felt like shit as I walked home alone.

It leaves me wondering why I am seeking these people out again. At once I want to find all of them and friend them, see where they are with their lives, discover their marriages and their kids and their successful careers and how they've all been hanging out together since we graduated, and how their lives surround traditional pursuits like beer, football, and family get-togethers. And yet at the same time, I want to delete that Facebook account, merely one day after I created it, because I can't shake the feeling that all this reconnection will get me to the same place I was before - together, yet one step removed from everyone else.

I realize now that I have not forgotten, nor reconciled with, nor forgiven them for, my four years of consecutive rejection from their ranks. That not being able to wear that pledge pin, that not being able to call my best friend "Big Brother" like we talked about, that not being able to wear that lettered sweatshirt, that having to left home alone in the house we all shared together when they had a fraternity party to go to... that all of this STILL stings. Still hurts. And it still represents a separation in our lives that contributed to our lack of meaningful friendships post-graduation.

I wonder if that is why I jumped so hard into the pool of organized SM. Why I became "Boymeat."

In my younger leather days, I became obsessed with the idea of joining a backpatch club. I became an associate member of the DC boys of Leather, I considered joining LOBOC because my leather family were members, I thought about pledging the Renegades, or some other AMCC group. The first thing I did after joining GMSMA was slapping their big patch on the back of my leather vest. lolitasir kept asking me why I wanted to join these groups, why I felt the need. I never could appropriately answer her, but I realize now that it had nothing to do with the groups themselves. I didn't want to join these groups of men per se, no. Instead, I wanted to wear those colors. I wanted to show the world that I belonged to a group that had limited membership. I wanted to be a part of the club, instead of being the guy outside of it.

But in the end, I found acceptance. I find myself in a grouping of people that is so immediately welcoming, that hundreds if not thousands of people would look at me instantly like a brother in their group. That hundreds already do. Boymeat, and in turn me, is wanted. Is appreciated.

I'm looked up to, instead of slightly down upon.

So now I talk to these old college friends. I keep my new life hidden from them, because I don't feel like I can shed that side of me and expect understanding and fellow joy. And all the while I look at them and wonder... will they accept me now? Will I be able to put aside all those years of rejection, and just be? Can we reconnect again... and maybe start anew?

I need to bury these bones. Now if I can just figure out how.

Comments

( 27 comments — Leave a comment )
eric_mathgeek
Sep. 23rd, 2009 03:06 pm (UTC)
Funny, seeing how some of my old friends -- and many mere acquaintances, including people who barely talked to me (and I, to them) -- ended up makes me simultaneously happy for them, and happy that I'm not where they are.
nex0s
Sep. 24th, 2009 12:14 am (UTC)
This is exactly how I feel about facebook.

I like seeing how people are doing, and how they ended up. Sometimes there are serious surprises (the one who became a minister, the cool guy who's a total geek now, etc.) and that's fun too.

But I'm glad I'm not them. And I bet they are glad they aren't me too! Ha!

ETA: Oh, and one other thing - I was never part of the in-crowd. I even belonged to an organization in college .... from which I have no friends anymore. I know that a lot of *them* still hang out together, but I was never... really in. I'll tell you (boymeat) the story sometime. It's a doozy.

Even now, I don't have a "group" I belong to. I went the other way from you - I just didn't trust that anyone would ever want me in their group, so I tend to keep away from organizations. It's just too painful.

N.

Edited at 2009-09-24 12:17 am (UTC)
ciani
Sep. 23rd, 2009 03:08 pm (UTC)
That's a tough one. My facebook account is an all-in-one. If the people from my past really want to figure out some of what I'm up to they probably could, but I also don't feel comfortable sharing it. I've gotten anything from envy, disgust, amazement, disdain. Some of them I want to connect with, but don't know what to say. I keep hoping it comes over time.
(Deleted comment)
professorbird
Sep. 23rd, 2009 03:29 pm (UTC)
On Facebook and life...
Perhaps it's a genetic thing with us? I was never one of the "in crowd" in school. It wasn't until my late 20s or early 30s that I found acceptance in a big way (only to have that ripped out from under me in my late 30s!)

I feel your pain. I got lured into FB myself and within days people I had not heard from in 30+ years were asking to be my friend. One person I actually responded to with this: "You never spoke to me or liked me in HS. We haven't spoken since. What makes you think I'm interested now?" I rejected the request.

For what it's worth, you're at point in your life where you are evaluating your past and trying to make sense of your present and give direction to your future. FB has become a catalyst for that process. I'm here for you, I accept you at face value because I love you. Not because we're related, but because I love the adult you've become.
(Deleted comment)
professorbird
Sep. 23rd, 2009 03:50 pm (UTC)
Re: On Facebook and life...
I have no pretense of seeking to ammend my past. I have reconnected with a few people and that is why I keep my account in place. Mostly, I use FB to post activism posts now, which I know is ticking off some folks. And the rebel in me just loves it.

I do not engage in intimate exchanges there (or LJ anymore for that matter) and keep the online and real world lives separate.

(Deleted comment)
professorbird
Sep. 23rd, 2009 04:52 pm (UTC)
Re: On Facebook and life...
Not a problem. It still caused me to think A dangerous past time at best.

And thanks for being there for him. I have a deeply personal stake in his well being.
(Deleted comment)
boymeat
Sep. 23rd, 2009 03:43 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'm definitely still going to keep the two worlds separate, because with the vanilla account I'm linked to my girlfriend's family members. I don't need them knowing about Boymeat.
tripartite
Sep. 23rd, 2009 07:00 pm (UTC)
You talk about Boymeat like he's a different person. Is he? Or is he someone different?
(Deleted comment)
em_yrt
Sep. 23rd, 2009 03:43 pm (UTC)
Most of the people that I've "reconnected" with on FB are people who I didn't have much in common with at the time (people I knew in high school). It's somewhat gratifying to know that I still have very little in common with most of these people. It makes me feel like I haven't missed out much on not knowing them.

However, some people it's been awesome to find again. The foreign exchange student we had from France when I was a kid, for example. A guy who dated a friend of mine in high school, who I went out for lunch with a couple weeks ago and still enjoyed the company of.

Sometimes I look at people who I have resented in the past because I felt they were "better" than I was for some reason, and I compare my life to theirs and I'm happy with who I am. Sometimes I look at people and I'm still jealous of the things they have that I don't.

We're a lot older now.. we're not the same people that we were in high school or college. If you think that finding these people again will make you feel bad, then don't do it. You could take a somewhat vindictive pleasure in NOT friending people who made you feel bad way back when. Or you could see if enough time has passed that you don't feel as bad about these things anymore.
(Deleted comment)
boymeat
Sep. 23rd, 2009 03:50 pm (UTC)
Logical words that I have told myself before in much harder to understand words. Now I just need to enable myself to put it into practice. I seem to always slide back to the past... perhaps some self-damning mechanism that is there for some reasons unknown to me.
bostontim
Sep. 24th, 2009 06:45 am (UTC)
I like the way you put it Nayland, it appeals to my sense of rationality about what the role of FB really plays. The question I have is about when rationality stops and old feelings come back to the surface. Maybe it's just that those feelings need to come out to finally get rid of some old frustrations. These feelings can also be of value---they may be a tool for understanding oneself better, largely through the process of coming to understanding WHY the feelings came up.

Boymeat- "self-damning mechanism"....You can very well think that. I couldn't possibly comment.
desiringsubject
Sep. 23rd, 2009 03:54 pm (UTC)
Thank you for sharing this.

I think I have more empathy for parts of what you've said here than I feel completely comfortable expressing in words. I'm glad I know you.

It's difficult to have a life with "sides," and I've always seen the allure of having a life where all the sides feel integrated. But, at least for me, I suspect the only site of such integration is my own psyche. It's a lonely thought to me, it's not what I thought life would be like. But it's not altogether tragic, I have a lot more in my life that truly feeds me than I ever thought possible.

We only get (or, depending on your cosmology, we are only truly aware of) the one lifetime, and I wish sometimes it felt just a little bit more *contiguous* with itself. But the struggles we go through with groups, and acceptance, and in and out and looking up and looking down... I hope and pray that those are struggles that lead towards greater authenticity for all of us.

Lastly, a Cherríe Moraga quotation:
“the only way to write for la comunidad is to write so completely from your heart what is your own personal truth. This is what touches people” (Moraga Loving in the war years 2000 ed. xii)

Thank you again for writing this.
julian_wolf
Sep. 23rd, 2009 04:48 pm (UTC)
Thank you for sharing this.

I had a Facebook with my legal name on it too, but deleted it when the stress of keeping too wasn't worth it any more.

It's hard to want to belong where we don't really fit in, even when we find the wonderful places where we live now.

Many hugs and see you this weekend!
contessagrrl
Sep. 23rd, 2009 05:12 pm (UTC)
I have a lot to say about this, but I'm going to hold it all for in person.

Love you. Also, proud of you.
daedaleandeus
Sep. 23rd, 2009 06:07 pm (UTC)
This is sort of interesting to me. In college, and before, and after, I wouldn't say I was part of the in crowd, but I was always in with the crowd I wanted to be a part of, if that makes sense.

On the other hand in the leather world I'm very insular. I keep my public life and my personal one very separate. I have a (very) small handful of lifestyle friends and acquaintances and while I wouldn't say I'm against being more community-minded it isn't something I seek and I do find it uncomfortable when I'm in it.

Its sort of a strange reflection how a feeling of being left out in one part of your life can affect how you seek acceptance in others. Thanks for sharing.
kayt_arminta
Sep. 23rd, 2009 08:17 pm (UTC)
See, this is why I refuse to make a facebook account with my real name. There's a reason I lost contact with all those people, that reason hasn't changed.
pony_bootblack
Sep. 23rd, 2009 08:34 pm (UTC)
Thank you for sharing this. As a person who sees you as the one of the coolest of the "cool people", it's actually heartening to know that we all share the same struggles of acceptance in one way or another.

I recently did a huge purge of my friends list on Facebook, deleting those people who, in high school, treated me poorly or weren't actually friends. It was amazingly liberating.

I've come to a policy of "really friends" as being my criteria for facebook friending, and it has been odd, but strangely gratifying to deny friend status to those people who denied me true friendship at another point in my life.
feyrieprincess
Sep. 23rd, 2009 09:07 pm (UTC)
You have your own world now
And it's beyond their imagining
redhead_sue
Sep. 23rd, 2009 10:09 pm (UTC)
I love you, you know that?

I relate to a lot of what you said here. Feeling like you don't fit in, and then finding places - almost obsessively seeking them out - where you DO fit in and embracing them and the people you find there. I feel like much of my life has been about seeking out groups (drama clubs, online chatrooms, TES, etc.), starting as a novice and then working my way up and in until I feel comfortable.

I think if you can connect to these people from your past and *enjoy it*, then it's worth it. Facebook can be fun, the whole "wow, you haven't changed a bit" and "you have three kids?!" aspect of it. But when it brings up old, hurt feelings... it's not worth it just to say your hellos and realize you have nothing in common anymore, if you ever did.

All of this isn't that insightful - I'm at the end of a work day and I'm wiped out - but I guess what I really want to say is that I know you will find a way to come to terms with your past, because you've started the process already. And if you decide to turn your back on Facebook and the frat brothers and delete the account, that will be a valid choice.
alittlebitbent
Sep. 24th, 2009 01:16 am (UTC)
Hell, I'm back in school 20 years later, and I still don't fit in... and it still hurts sometimes... and I'm not imagining that I don't fit in - several of my classmates have told me pretty directly that I care too much, I ask too many questions, I am too blunt, too honest, and too real...

Sorry if my realness offends you (not)... Those are the qualities I value in myself - I'll be dipped if I'm gonna change for the slacks-and-matching-sweater-sets crowd.

I relate to the pain of being rejected, even when I'm being rejected by a group I don't belong in or particularly respect. Really, who wants to hang out with people who don't like to sit off to the side of the room and play Statler and Waldorf?

I do like being on Facebook with a wide mix of friends, not exactly hiding who I am, and definitely not hiding those I love, no matter how "out" their profiles are - and I like being able to say, "Hey, look how happy I growed up even if I am a little bit bent." So maybe I'm connecting with my past to let them know they didn't grind me down - and my present schooling isn't going to change me either.

I am what I am, and I love me for it even when it hurts. And I positively adore you as well, my dear Mr. Meat.
diabhol
Sep. 24th, 2009 05:48 pm (UTC)
I have nothing in common with any of the old school people I have "Friended" on Facebook. In fact, I sort of hate all of them.
chef2b
Sep. 25th, 2009 11:50 am (UTC)
This just sucks and I'm sorry to hear that you are going through it. It's hard to let go of some things. Clearly 4 years of that has created some long-lasting things for you.

But as you mentioned, you've come a long way since then. Perhaps the fact that you were rejected by that particular fraternity has raised three or more positives.

One, they weren't your people so you did not get indoctrinated with a bunch of other crap that you would be working on to overcome now. Two, having worn those shoes, you probably are very attuned to helping others fit in or feel like they fit into the groups that you are now a part of. Three, you have found your people and as you said, they look up to you.

The more I try to bury something the worse it tends to get. I strive for just being at peace with those bones from the past. Some days are better than others. Ponder to find the good in what was and I hope that you find peace in all of this.

I'm enjoying getting to know you better and learning from the process.
( 27 comments — Leave a comment )

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