I’ve always gone through life with no regrets. I never really saw the point. In general, I am a pretty happy person. I’m not exactly sure where it comes from really. You can put me in any situation. I can think calmly about how to work my way through it.
I am a puzzle guy and I attack life as if it were one big puzzle to solve. I rarely listen to how someone tells me they solved the puzzle. I like figuring it out for myself.
That is why for me, my past is MY past. I embrace it wholly as part of my journey in solving the big puzzle. I own it all. I own the accomplishments, the mistakes and everything in between.
I continue through each step knowing that, should I make a mistake I will learn from it.
But then, I think back to what got me started on blogging in the first place. It makes me think, “perhaps I don’t follow the no regrets thing as closely as I think I do”.
Remember in my first post, I talked about having a hard time sleeping and how that was the cause of me beginning this blog to begin with? I kept thinking about things in the past and I couldn’t shut it down.
There’s still so much more to the journey behind me that I haven’t shared. I think there is one issue that I’ve sort of been avoiding. I don’t know if I just haven’t found it chronologically to make sense within my time line or if there is a bit of guilt, shame or regret mingled in there.
I think I do have a bit of a regret with it however, I also know for certain that if it weren’t for this solitary moment in my life I would not be in the awesome place that I am right now. Seriously, I would not have stayed in Austin and I would never have met the man that I am in eternal love with. As near to perfect as my life is right now, I still can’t get that part of my life out of my head. Wondering “what if”.
The moment that haunts me:
So, as you are aware (if you’ve been reading along), I am gay and I was outed by someone to my unit. So, rather than investigate me being gay (because they really couldn’t) those in my chain of command, simply put more on my plate than any human could accomplish.
I made a full attempt to complete everything to standard at all times, but fell short on numerous occasions. At first, I didn’t want to believe that I was being forced all this extra because they knew I was gay. It wasn’t until one of the civilian women in the congregation (remember I was a chaplain’s assistant) came up to me one day and literally said, “I pray that one day you will find Jesus”.
To which I responded, “What do you mean?”.
I was shocked when she said, “Well the chaplain said that you are gay and that you practice Wicca”.
Which is actually only half true, so I said “I don’t know where he got that idea, but I’m Christian” (which was true at the time) and left it at that. Her jaw dropped and she apologized.
From there, it all just kind of spiraled for me. I mean, here’s a Chaplain who is supposed to be providing for the religious needs of the unit, not pushing his on people. Yes, he probably got the idea that I was Wicca from the fact that we had 3 practitioners in our unit who I ordered literature for but that was my job. It would be no different than ordering a Torah for our Jewish soldiers.
I digressed a little by giving you that exchange, but back on point.
So now I’m being given a heap of responsibility and doing my best to accomplish all that I can and failing to complete tasks. This, to the point that I ended up pulling 16 hour days to attempt to keep up because I wanted to be all that I could be. And then knowing the reason for it all, I wanted to prove that they weren’t going to put me down.
Ah but they did. It didn’t take long for them to find cause to boot me out for being “sub par”. I don’t even remember the true wording any more. I could have just waited it out and just let it all happen but that was going to be a dishonorable discharge. So, I did my research.
Since the ball was rolling all ready, I couldn’t say “you know what I’m gay”. Being booted because you admit you are gay actually can be an honorable discharge (at least in the Army at that time). But, trying that once the ball was rolling would not work, they already had me on dishonorable.
So, I did the only other thing I could think of (which prior to was unthinkable). I went Absent With Out Leave (AWOL). Logically speaking (as you know I try to be logical) the discharge for that is a general discharge.
So, it was a chess game for me. I was gone for 3 months and then went to Oklahoma to out process. Simple as that.
I felt and still feel justified in how I handled it. I took the rout that would ultimately be best for me. So why the regret in it all?
Why the regret then:
As I play the whole thing over in my head, I think of what I could have done differently. Maybe I should have never dated guys at all, or at least never soldiers. I could have done what everyone else was doing. Simple anonymous guy on guy action in hotel rooms. But that was never me.
But the biggest part of it is that there are a lot of things that I don’t feel justified in.
Currently, there’s a big push to end Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. A fight that I believe in, and I would take up arms but yet, I went AWOL. How can I say that gay soldiers are serving honorably? Even though I know that I did the best that I could with what I was dealt, I took a way out that renders me fairly useless in the fight.
Maybe, just maybe, I should have foreseen that they were going to eventually try to kick me out and claimed gay before they had the chance. I don’t know that’s not really me though. I’d rather people think that I was a coward than to use my being gay as a crutch.
It’s a little bit frustrating to tell the truth. No matter how hard I try to rationalize, I can always think of a hundred different things that I could have done to begin with.
I’ll probably never get over it, but there it is.
Now the world knows, this is the single event in my past that has been gnawing at me and forced me to create this blog to begin with.
Til next time, I’m OUT!