What I’m Looking For – Line 13

Felt the healing fingertips

For almost nineteen years I have been a liar. When asked about this, I have never told the truth about these events. Not even once. For about two months after it began, I thought about this all the time. After September 28, 1992, I have not let it cross my mind more than a dozen times.

Total.

Teenage boys spend a lot of time thinking about “First _;” “First Kiss,” “First Base,” “First Time,” …and we anticipate them in that order. I was no exception, but the summer before my Junior year of High School I still felt like I was a lifetime away from any of those. I’d had a couple of girlfriends in the “chaste hand-holding and going-steady when there’s nowhere to go” sense of the word, but nothing serious enough to even warrant a reasonable shot at that mythical moment of lip-locking that some of my friends talked endlessly about.

I constantly felt behind, which I know now is a pretty normal state of mind for a teenager. Personally, I had almost no first hand knowledge about “serious” boy-girl relationships; and all my second-hand knowledge was either bragging or hearsay, neither of which were particularly reliable even when coming “from the source.” Compounding that, in a private/parochial/conservative Boarding High School in the early 90s, no one who knew better was actually telling us “the truth.” It was like there was a big secret out there that we were all searching for, and none of us were smart enough to actually compare notes. How much we REALLY knew was a closely guarded personal secret, and discussing it put you at risk for exposing what you didn’t know, and the social tragedy that would ensue. Falling to the status of complete-social-outcast always felt like it was just one mistake away. No one makes a mistake if no one talks about it…so silence was the rule of the herd.

The first time I’ve ever talked about my first time

The Conversation

First, I’ve been struggling again with the next line in my “What I’m Looking For” series, and I’m close…I’ll try to post lines 10 and 11 today.

But bigger picture, I’ve come to a realization recently and I’d like to put it out there so everyone will understand where I’m coming from. Let’s talk about comments. Specifically, how I answer comments.

The comments are my favorite part of blogging. I enjoy writing comments, and I deeply love when people post comments on the things I write. My favorite blog in the whole world is noteworthy not for the posts themselves so much as the wonderful comments and conversations that happen there.

Conversation is the key word. I feel like every comment here is a part of a conversation. Every comment I post somewhere else is part of a conversation. Some conversations are very public, and I just feel like I’m contributing one more voice in a collective; that I’m just chiming in, and no reply is necessary or expected.

But here, on my blog, I feel like I’m having conversations in a coffee shop…personal and sincere, but not private. I feel like everyone who shows up is due the respect of a response, even if it’s just a verbal nod of the head and the confirmation that I was paying attention and I heard what you said.

What I don’t want, is to come across like I have to have the last word. Or, to sound like some sanctimonious prig who always thinks he knows better…or knows more. I want this to be a place where people feel invited to have a conversation. I value every comment, and I want to encourage that conversation, even if I disagree with someone’s position, my disagreement and my response are a part of a conversation and NOT meant to be seen as “the last word.”

I do not think of myself as someone with all the answers…hell, I don’t even think of myself as someone with even a decent grasp of SOME of the answers. I am a person who will write about what I’m thinking, and then enjoy talking about what other people have to say about those things.

I guess what I’m saying is that I have a terrible addiction to words. I use lots and lots and lots of them. If you write a 30 word comment, and I stitch in a 300 word response, please PLEASE don’t feel like I’m somehow talking over you…I’m just a talker; and I really can’t tell you how much I appreciate the chance to talk.

I don’t confuse the amount of words I can say about a topic with being “right” about a topic; I’m just perpetually afraid that other people don’t draw that distinction.