"I kept up a peculiar friendship with him because I couldn't imagine keeping up my life without him. I struggled to master myself and my emotions. I wasn't always successful." -Frank Ocean (from his "coming out" - or whatever you want to call it - letter)
When I read Frank's "coming out" note on his Tumblr last week, I understood that I was reading a huge revelation. But bigger than that, the story that he was telling was way more moving and it didn't matter what gender he was talking about about. But the above line has stuck with me since I read it last week. Hell, I've memorized it. It also came at the most interesting time.
The same week I had a chance to spend some time with my "first." I've mentioned him in the past so no need to go into much detail (though this sums it up quite nicely). We're still very cool and keep in semi-frequent contact but don't get to see each other often. We spoke the day before the 4th and we made plans to see each other and catch up. The whole "catching up" thing didn't work out exactly as planned but we did get to hang out for a couple of minutes and it gave me a chance to get in his business (yeah, we're still that cool).
But like many who see an old flame or whatever he/she may be to you, I did a little reflection as I got home. It wasn't the "I wonder what could have happened if" kind of reflection; it was actually a self-reflection. I realized when I looked in his eyes, I could literally see the 18 year old freshman who knew nothing about boys. The freshman who knew nothing about "game." I laughed to myself when I recalled how I asked, "Now what," because I knew he wasn't my boyfriend but I didn't know what it meant to have sex with someone who was just a friend. I shook my head at how crystal clear things were after that first time when I realized, "Shit, I'm not the only one, huh?"
As I recall, I kept up a facade. I'd expressed my little hurt but for the sake of me keeping him around, primarily because I didn't know how to say " I can't and won't deal with this," I held on to the friendship. By a thread. For years. We'd finally gotten to what I thought was a good place until one straw broke the camel's back and I saw the "friendship" for what it was. I'd had enough and told him so. That, too, last for a few years until he approached me on the humble and we grew the friendship again. Today, I think we're okay but we only are because I don't feel the need to keep up that friendship with him if it isn't working for me (I can't speak for him).
I don't run up behind him checking on him and seeing what he's up to because I can imagine my life without him. I've had a life without him in it. So I know Frank's story. I lived it to an extent. I actually went through parts of it again with someone else. It's got to be one of the worst feelings to deal with in terms of relationships but when you get through it? Now that's some shit to sing about.