I’m a very lucky man.
I have a wonderful library of experiences. I once bribed a tax official in Poland. I once begged on the mean streets of New Jersey. I once met a priest called George while barefoot on the steps of a hotel in Toronto to get a loan of $40. I once convinced a former Minister for Education to run up a hill in the rain with me. I once gave a lift to a Member of the European Parliament in my mother’s little red Fiat 500. I once convinced a taxi driver to drive from Dublin city centre to the airport in 9 minutes and didn’t die or miss my flight. I once gave a blowjob to another boy on his birthday in his recently-deceased granny’s front room. I once got a tweet from Margaret Atwood. I once had the President of Ireland bum a cigarette off me. I once walked away from my secondary school on a Tuesday as a seventeen-year-old and no one ever made me go back. I once sang “Man I feel like a woman” in front of a room of 800 drunk debaters at the World Championships. A powerful member of the current cabinet once slammed the phone down on me when I didn’t acknowledge that a chance to meet him was more important than the Law Ball. I once saw Boyzone live before Stephen Gately died.
And I came to a point in life when I thought I wasn’t interesting any more, that my life was done.
And then 2012 happened. And I was suddenly interesting again. Here I was, living with 19-year-old boys, and making actual friendships with them. Here I was boxing against fit undergraduates. Here I was, renegotiating how to be a man, how to be gay, how to be a member of my own family. Here I was, trying swimming, trying running. Here I was, going back to a wonderful job that I’d run from. Here I was, with literally hundreds of people reading the details of my life, reading the words I wrote, in my blog. Here I was, with an incredible PhD, that even if I do it really badly, will change how I see the world, and myself, forever.
But with the sad sappy case I’ve been for the past few months, it’s easy to forget that I’m not in a rut any more, that I’m not boring any more. I’m a person who stuff happens to and a person who makes stuff happen.
Today, I reminisced about the year I’ve been having by listening to a song about a woman who doesn’t mind anal sex. It was a song that some of the boys I lived with used to play over and over, which I didn’t think much of at the time, but it now makes me smile. The evidence of what I’ve achieved this year surrounds me: from my bed, I can see “5067”, the race number I wore as I completed the 8K last June. I can also see the silly and wonderful and wonderfully silly rainbow sunglasses that I wore on my first gay pride, also in June. I also have the printout of the chapters that I completed for my continuation on the PhD, chapters I never really believed would be written until I wrote them.
And my future is interesting too. Good God, I’ve insanely committed myself to getting waxed on my back (and my sack! and my CRACK!). I’ve also committed to have naked photos of myself taken. I’ve clearly lost the run of myself completely. I’ve had friends nominate me for the Irish Blog Awards. I’ve decided to try to do a one-man play in the theatre in Trinity this year. I’ve written abstracts for papers to present at actual academic conferences. I’ve set myself secret goals for my running. I’ve grown certain both that I’ll finish my PhD and that I’ll write a book. I’m about to start a job where I look after one THOUSAND teenagers.
I’m an exceedingly lucky person. I may have an unreasonably big loan and a bit of study to do, but I’m not tied down by a mortgage, by children, by a vocation or by love. I’m free. And I’m going to use that freedom.
I hadn’t intended to write this blogpost, I’d already written a post today, all about YMCA and a light blue jacket, but I checked my email quickly before I got into bed. And there were two emails from two very different friends. Both were straight men. And I still have to admit that any kind of attention from straight men still amazes me. I don’t know the offside rule and I don’t have a vagina, so I can’t understand why straight men like me, but some do. They’re my friends. One email was a reply to one I’d sent about my hair. That’s right, I’m corresponding with a man about my hair. AND HE ANSWERED! The other email is from a friend of mine who is useless for keeping in touch. He had just caught up with my blog and had read the really depressing post I wrote last week. He offered comfort, superficial advice, and he offered to be there. For me. And I was overwhelmed. I really have an extraordinary life and am extraordinarily lucky. It won’t surprise anyone if I say I’m crying as I write these lines, but they’re the best possible type of tears.