Hmm, my journey with The Quest.
Okay, so where to start? Where to begin? Hmm, okay, here goes.
Hi. My name is Jason. Pleased, very pleased to meet you.
There now at The Quest, in my assumed role of service. A point of light along your way, if you so choose, to stop on by. There for those, most alone, those lost in the darkness of their nights. A safety net for the fallen and the dispossessed. A hand held out to “My Brothers in Arms.”
And tell me, do you wonder about me? Wonder how I got to be this creature before you?
Ah, my history, now that really is a story in the telling. . . in the showing. . .
But, I will hold myself, in talking to you now, about only these past several months or so. The months that I have journeyed with The Quest.
My first contact with The Quest was via their Website. It seemed interesting. Some place different. It called to me in my darkness. And my darkness was. . . Well. . . Very DARK.
I decided to go to one of their, First Tuesday Socials. I was terrified when I first entered that, meeting arena. You see, hanging around with gay guys, is something that, I have never really done. It was strange standing there that night. I was dressed as a “mundane.” I wanted to be as inconspicuous as possible, whilst I scanned and computed for threats. For the “catches” that had to be there. But, there was no ulterior motive, in the existence of these guys though. Just a burgeoning sense authenticity. It felt safe.
So, unlike those others places. Those places I did not feel welcome. Those bars and clubs where I felt I had nothing, nothing worthwhile at least, in common with the guys that frequented them. Those hunting grounds soaked with insatiable hungers and their prey. Everyone seemingly “scalping” each other. The hunters always looking for their next conquest, their next drug fix. The hunters with their polished exterior. Which jokingly belied, my perception told me, of their own inner crumpled turmoil, their mudded desperate interior. Ah, the facades and the loneliness that I feel in that street “Old Compton.” A street, that at times is so crowded. Where I feel, in amongst the crowd, so completely lost and yes, ignored. Alone within this city. No one seeing me.
So tell me, when you walk down that street, does anyone ever really see you? I mean, see the real you?
Or maybe you are like me, not knowing. . . who the real you, the real me. . . really is. You know, that person you knew, knew you were always supposed to be. The one you were born to be. The one out there, shining bright, with light, from deep within. The one before the school of hard knocks came by. The hard lessons that were taught and learnt. The punches, the kicks, the shame, the rejections, the fear, the hurt, the boyfriends, the deaths, the drugs. . . Oh that list goes on and on. . .
So, there I was at my first Quest Tuesday Social. It felt so strange and alien being there. I barely knew how to interact with these gay guys. This was not my “scene.” Yet, there was something familiar about the sense of acceptance there. A place I remembered from another world, a better world. A memory of a future time, maybe.
Oh, how my mind, likes to drift away with the faeries at times.
I decided there and then, to sign up to one of The Quest’s Exploratory Weekend Workshops.
I do the Friday evening of the workshop. They keep referencing past hurts. They referenced shame, but I definitely had no shame left. Surely, I had eradicated that twenty years ago? They referenced Rage. Ah, now at last, they were talking my language. Rage, my unadulterated rage. Anger, the lifeblood of my species. My anger, that has always been there for me, got me through every shitty thing that has ever happened to me. Anger that had been internalised and forged into an impenetrable suit of armour. Armour covered with a nice smiley and oh so, affable face. Ah, the masks we wear, one on top of another. . .
The Saturday arrived. I pretend I am okay with the process. I know that I am not.
We were asked to write a letter to our younger, sixteen year old selves. The exercise stopped me in my tracks. I stared at that blank piece of paper. I could not bring the pen to the emptiness. The exercise came to its timed end. I manage to write the only thing I could think of. Just five words. It hurt to see the truth, my wish, written down. I think I was the only one of the group not to read out his letter.
Oh, the five words, the simple sentence.
“Take the pills and die.”
There I sat, shocked and appalled. I had no love or compassion for my younger self. And trust me, I knew how much, that innocent kid had suffered. And if I could not love myself, then how could I expect . . . Ah, but you see, I also knew the hurt, that awaited that kid in the years ahead. So much hurt. It being, too much, for one person, to bare.
I began to disconnect from the process. I began to disconnect from the group.
By the end of the Saturday session, I knew I was not in a good place. My anger withheld from the group. That bunch of “Poofs” were no match for me and my RAGE. Going home, I played a song of anger repeatedly on my MP3 player. I thought I could drain away, with the help of this song, some of my rage. And that I would be in a calmer place for the Sunday session. Who was I kidding, my anger was inexhaustible.
I did not go back on the Sunday and complete the weekend. I was the first guy to “fail” the course.
It took several days for my rage to subside. I felt sad. I had this chance, this opportunity to change and I let it fall through my fingers. I also felt really guilty, for bailing out, on the other guys on the course. Sorry guys.
I did however, stay in touch with Darren and Ade. They were still pretty much in the dark as to who this “Jason” was, but I think they had an inkling. They did not reject me.
Then Darren, asks me to find someone and instead of telling them about my pain, instead show them. You see, I can talk about my history, about my hurt and my pain so clearly, so concisely. For I have had to talk to those “Professional Types” in my past. Talk, talk, talk. Did it do any good? Not really.
So I do find someone and sit them down in my bedroom. I told them, that I was going to show them, what I see in the mirror. Allow them to glimpse the creature behind the mask. I turned the music up. I played that special song of anger. I took the barriers down.
I erupted. The rage came pouring out. Spitfire venom, combined with a dance, of such violence and viciousness. Finally a witness to my soul. My soul that had been ripping apart for so many years. It felt good, to share. The telling was just not good enough for me, I had to show it. Show it all. Show myself, in all my glory, all the good and the bad. Show my true self. I think it was, at that point, that I began to reconnect.
Click here for Part 2 of Jason’s journey……