Monday, July 20, 2009

San Francisco, Affirmation, Old Friends and a Model A Ford

Apologies to those who have been waiting for my feedback on this last weekend in San Francisco (I'm looking at you, Alan) This weekend I took a very short trip up to San Francisco for the 1st ever Affirmation Young Adult Cornerstone Conference. The conference was sparsely attended, but the small group made it feel more like a small ward activity than a big "conference". Which was nice. I think since it was the first time they'd ever had this event, coupled with the simple fact that most young people can't afford to go to San Francisco for the weekend. That's why all the attendees were from the Bay Area except me, Christian and his friend Max.

Christian is pictured here to the left. He is transgendered, and was born biologically female, and has been on hormones since April. I really enjoyed meeting him and getting to hear his story. I'd never met a transgendered Moho before and it was incredible. Interestingly, I still would occasionally refer to Christian as she--it annoyed me, because I support him and his dicisions, but knowing what I knew about his current physical state (pre-op) I would still mentally default to saying "she". I hope I didn't offend, as Christian was a cool person, and as the Bishop's kid in Orange County, I know his path is undoubtedly more difficult than mine.

The conference was fun and I sort of wish I had more time to get the stories of the attendees. I picked up peices between the seminars and talks about political activism and safe sex. But unfortunately, I just didn't get the time. We went on a walking tour of the Castro, which basically consisted of talking about which bars where for what and who goes where and has the best drinks or dancing. It made me feel a little out of the loop. I have gone dancing, but I still don't think clubbing tops my list of things to do on any given night. I still don't drink and frankly haven't more than a fleeting interest in starting. So once again, I was the minority, the guy who was recently out, single and insecure.

It is frustrating, because I'm working my hardest to find out why I'm still so goddamn uncomfortable with myself. My therapist and I are try to get to the root of it. I've got it boiled down the this, at least in my head--I don't deserve happiness. And I'm firmly of the belief that I'll never have it. It can't possibly sound any more emo and self-defeating, but that's the truth. And this blog is about the truth. I look at a couple like Austin and Todd, and I get nauseated. I feel sick to my stomach, knowing that the happiness and joy they've found in each other is never going to be found in my heart.

Don't get my wrong, I'm extremely happy for them--I know they will succeed as a couple. My envy is all encompassing. They are a hot couple, both extremely good looking and thin, which I'll never be. They seem to have given each other their whole heart, which embodies itself in the playfulness of their relationship. As it has been for my whole life, I'm controlled by fear. Despite my best efforts, every date I go on, I feel nothing, every time I look in the mirror and see the fat fuck staring back at me, I know I'll never earn the love and attraction I want, every day that I'm alone, I get more and more ready to give up.

I am sorry this post rapidly became depressing before I even knew what was happening.

I'll have to blog more on this later. To move on, Alan picked me up in his car in the Castro--I joked with him that I never expected to get picked up by an older man in a black car in the Castro..." Hahaha. We went to Grace Cathederal, which no pictures I took do justice. There was a wedding, and I got to hear some music of the choir.

Outside, I encountered this dashing gentleman, and knew I had to have a photo:

He pleasantly obliged, and I sent this photo to my mother, who loves the Scots. She also commented that she thought he was handsome--he is!

After Grace, Alan and I drove down through Golden Gate Park, and then to the 280 south to Woodside (Steve Jobs has a home in this area) up Route 84 to "Alice's Restaurant" (Yes, Arlo Guthrie's Alice's Restaurant.) We had dinner with my adopted Mom, Patty Mayall. Alan, Patty and I had a delightful dinner, laughing and talking about a myriad of subjects, before going back to Patty's to have apple pie.

For those who want backstory--Patty and I met at Mortified San Francisco back in April. Have you ever met someone who totally clicks with you and you feel like you've known them your whole life? It's a rare occurrence, but Patty and I were fast friends. And in the short time we were together, we felt comfortable enough to share phone numbers and e-mails, and she extended the invite to stay with her any time I was in the bay area.

So I took her up on the offer. And as we sat at the table talking, it was chilly and I put my arm around her, hugged her. It was very fun, and made me realize how much I miss my real mom, who is still in Virginia. I hope this doesn't make her jealous. My real mom (ToniAnne) and I will often go out to restaurants and sit across the table from each other and hold hands. It's fun, and makes my mom feel so loved and special--and she is both.

So Patty, my surrogate mom, was so appreciative--she's never had children of her own, and I think she really feels as blessed to know me as I do to know her. It's magic. She and her husband Ted are both going to be invited to my wedding (if I ever have one)

The next day, we got to do one of the coolest things I've ever done--easily the highlight of the weekend. We got to drive around the San Mateo Mountains in a 1928 Model A Ford!
Ted gases up the Ford before we begin our sojourn. The engine is gravity fed, meaning that the gas tank must be above the engine--which is why it's BEHIND THE DASHBOARD--basically your riding with 10 gallons of gasoline in your lap.

Here's the hood ornament. Classy! This car can go up to about 50 MPH (on a flat level stretch) and maybe 35-40 up any decent grade. It's a 3 speed flat cut gear manual transmission. It can get between 15-22 mpg. I got to ride in the rumble seat for most of the journey (no seatbelts) and consequently a rocking good time.

And then I got to DRIVE IT!!! This was kind of incredible, and as you can see I was giddy and grinning like the Cheshire cat the entire time. The car has an incredible amount of play in the steering, and it really felt not completely unlike driving the Antique Cars rides at any theme park. You could turn the wheel about a quarter turn before getting any response from the tires. It made driving a very conscious activity. This was real motoring. Oh, and no power brakes either... you're stopping the car with the force of your own foot.
When we finally got to San Gregario, we posed for a picture (me with my new hat I'd just bought).

I took the liberty of correcting and photoshopping this picture to the left to give it a historical and authentic look. Sigh, I want to own a car like this--but only if I've got a cool place to drive it like the winding country roads of the San Mateo Mountains.

In short, it was a fantastic weekend, with lots of new experiences, new friends, and fun. I'm an incredibly lucky guy, even if I don't understand why.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you had a good time, which is great! It is a little saddening, though, to hear that this subconscious barrier is still blocking your happiness. I know you've heard this a million times, but you *do* deserve happiness, and once you believe that, you open yourself up to the possibilities!
    IMHO, it really comes down to loving ourselves--not in a narcissistic way, but in a healthy, self-respecting way: reverence and love for the self. Not measuring up to the glorified Perfect Body is a problem most of us face in some way or another, at some point; if we can get beyond that and love ourselves in all aspects--including the physical (and no matter how we feel about our bodies, we can at least be grateful for all they do for us!)--a door is opened. Once we love ourselves, we are truly free to love and be loved. As Oprah (someone who has struggled a lot with weight herself) says, your cup must be filled before it can overflow into other people's. I do believe that.