Monday, June 30, 2008

SF Pride 2008 thoughts...

So personally, I've had a lot of stuff happen of late, most of which I'm still deciding whether to actually blog about or not (and at this point, I probably won't for the time being). I was actually wondering whether I was gonna make it to SF Pride this year, especially since this was my first one without the husband here and I had too many weird emotions circling about because of it.

It also didn't help that the supposedly now-straight ex wanted to go to a Pride event with me, who I had to remind sweetly that SF Pride events are usually overpriced and not worth the hassle--and I'm not sure if I wanna deal with a supposed straight ex who might go back to being gay after a few drinks...and who decides he wants to hit on me. Thankfully, my dad had invited me to go to see him to watch the Pacquiao fight--which I conveniently used as a time to nap and as an excuse to tell the ex that I can't go to any of the events Saturday night.

I actually spent the bulk of my weekend hanging out with a good friend--who I will probably move in within the next few months--who just broke up with his now ex-boyfriend, and who is also starting a job up in SF. He decided to volunteer at Pride and asked me to meet with him later. Considering I had nothing better to do, and I wasn't particularly interested in marching this year, I figured, why the hell not. Said friend and I have a rather interesting past, so we also spent the bulk of the weekend trying to hash that out and make sure that we were both on the same page--though it doesn't necessarily help that we find each other extremely attractive (sigh).

Anyway, so as I walk through Pride, it feels simultaneously foreign and familiar. I see all the obviously non-SF queer people desperately displaying their queerness for all and sundry to see; and recognizing how I was like that before, and how that now isn't relevant to me. I see old friends and I start marveling how we're all no longer the fresh-faced 20 somethings but now the partnering-up 30 somethings, out to make their annual pilgrimage to do the requisite kiss-kiss and hug-hug with everyone else before going back to our ordinary lives. I see all the younger kids who are coming out, having a good time, not worrying about their sexuality--feeling somewhat jealous that I never had that opportunity when I was younger, being constantly afraid of being found out, and literally forcing my way in to be proud and happy. I also see new friends that I've made who, even if they're all younger than me (when the hell did THAT happen), have the same mindset as me about relationships--it doesn't matter who my friends sleep with, as long as we're still friends; and how they seem to be the same old souls that I find among my older gay friends.

I see my friend and potential new roommate, and seeing how it was his first SF pride in a while, he asked me to walk with him to all the different stages. Somewhere along the way, he wraps his arm around my shoulders, and for some reason, my arm naturally wraps around his waist. And while we're not being necessarily a couple, there is something really nice having that connection with someone and talking. Along the way, I see friends who are obviously very confused about me being chummy with another guy who's not the husband, but as soon as I explain that he's just a friend who's visiting, they seem to get it. Or at least, they hide their shock better.

Contrary to popular belief, while I may be seen as a bit standoff-ish, at the same time, I'm usually really affectionate with my very close friends, and there have been times where I'm walking with arm-in-arm with a friend with the husband close by, and none of us think anything of it--even if other people tend to be shocked, and there's no other intent besides just being friendly. The funny thing is that while my friend and I are walking in this way, we're actually talking wistfully about both of our relationships.

Pride, at least on a personal level, has become pretty much irrelevant to me. At the same time, I saw how significant it was for my friend to go to a Pride festival with someone, even if I am just his friend, and nothing more, and even if we did appear very couple-like. As we chill while the Pride festival winds down, he does mention how he wants to become comfortable with his sexuality, and specifically wanted me to live with him to help him navigate around SF. That reminds me that many people don't have the luxury or ability to do what I did in order to come out and be comfortable with myself--and considering how living in SF's changed for me personally since the husband's moved, it will be nice having a roommate instead of living by myself.

It's weird having these swirling emotions around my head--missing the husband terribly at SF Pride, but hanging out with a really good friend, and realizing that my life really has changed. I am definitely on my way to a new chapter in my life. I've also decided that I'm going to probably stay in San Francisco for at least another year and apply for UCSF in case I don't get in. I'm still really optimistic that I will start at UCSF Pharm in the fall, but I am also almost done with my application for pharmacy '09.

1 comment:

Rona Fernandez said...

Thanks for your vulnerability and your perspective as always, Efren. I know a lot of folks (mostly our age, but some younger) that had mixed feelings about this Pride too, for various reasons (the marriage / normalization thing, the mainstream thing, etc). I didn't go this year because of my writing retreat, and i was kinda sad about it (I go maybe every few years) but after hearing from H. what it was really like (kinda weird and super-commercial) realized that I'd just over-romanticized it based on my early years at pride, when i was one of those young, fresh-faced 21-year-olds. Sigh.