My Best Friend:
All week, I had been thinking about what I should write about next. This morning it became kind of clear.
My best friend, Robbin. She lives almost 3,000 miles away from me and we don’t talk as often as we should. But through all of these years we’ve managed to stay pretty close to one another. Sometimes we will chat/call daily or weekly, other times we can go a few months without more than a “hello, I hope you’re doing well”. Even still, I know, if I ever needed anything in my life she would do anything that it took to help me. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for her either. It’s kind of the beauty of our friendship.
Why, with all of this distance do we have this kind of friendship? First off, we weren’t really all that close growing up, not until our senior year in high school at least. In fact, we probably argued more than anything. Even then, she would jump to my defense when my peers were cruel to me.
Beyond that, during my whole time in the service, whenever I needed to talk to someone, she was always there to let me sob through the phone at her when things had gotten emotionally rough for me.
Today we had a little time to catch up via instant messages. I hadn’t told her about this blog yet, so she took a look. Somewhere in the conversation, her brilliant mind spits out the following;
In the great and grand history of our country the one consistent thing has
always been this idea of, “let’s see what I can keep my neighbor from doing to keep
them from doing that whole pursuit of happiness thingy”.
That phrase sums up exactly what is and has been going on in this country.
As I think back on my military career it puts a lot of context to her statement. When I entered the Army to begin with, I came in with a rank of E-2 (most start at E-1 and work up). I already had an Army Achievement Medal for some work I had been doing with the recruitment office. In Basic training I earned another rank (E-3).
When I arrived at my first duty station, I was already ahead of most of the people that were fresh out of training. Other soldiers would always ask how I got all of that so quick. My answer was always the same, “attention to detail goes a long way”.
I was “that guy”. The one who was happy with where I was and understood how to pursue more happiness. That, I feel, is part of why everything happened the way that it did. After all, how can a gay guy be happy? He’s not supposed to be in the military. He’s not supposed to fish, hunt, drink beer or watch football. Perhaps because I was getting accolades and on a track to move up in the ranks it ticked off the few that had heard that I was gay.
Maybe, I should have taken all of that in as a compliment to my character. Except that, I don’t. Had I been a different type of person, my life would have been ruined. Lucky for me, I am the type of person who brushes it off and moves on.
I learned a big lesson during all of this. It’s the reason why, today, I am myself. I make no apologies for it. I walk through life proud that I am who I am. I believe that my lifetime will see marriage legal for the LGBT community. I believe that, love will be celebrated over hate and jealousy. I believe the time is now!
Today may end up being a two post day. Lunch break is almost over so I’ll need to get back to work, but I have some other thoughts that I will be writing out tonight.
Thanks for reading!