SBFDM=Sisters and brothers from different mothers. Complete with handshake
Me: Carl, in 2019 I’m going to do things, I’m coming out to visit, I’m going to be more honest with myself, and we’re going to have fun”
Carl: “Yessss!! You better come see me, what are your plans? Tell me more
It’s been quite a long time since I last posted (two years I think, if not more so for that I apologize). A lot has changed in the last two years, a lot of growth, heartache, loss, joy, but most of all, a lot of what’s happened took place with one incredibly special human by my side. His name is Carl, I’ve known him for upwards of 25+ years. He’s added such value to my life, as has his family. Why am I writing about him you ask? Simple! This man has seen me go through hell. And I’m sure it wasn’t easy to witness…it never really is for those who love you the most is it?
Before I get too carried away with the nicknames, the adventures, and the many memories that stood the test of time, let’s start off by how I met this kind soul. It was a wonderful September day in 1993, we’d both just started karate, and I’m sure both were equally nervous. Now I have no recollection of this, but I will tell you, that I’m sure it happened because well we all have our less than desirable moments. I, Julia, stuck my tongue out at Carl…during Our. First. Karate. Class. Literally had no idea until he mentioned it in my yearbook. Poor guy! We were in many of the same karate classes up until high school, our moms became close waiting for us in the waiting room. My mom with her dangerous perm, and his with her adventurous style and exuberance. When we reached high school, we ran in the same circle of friends and and grew close, he’s been a brother to me and I, another sister to him. Kindred spirits. Usually, we were not far behind if other was off doing something. Then we both started driving…once we were past the 6 month probationary period we went for joy rides from Stoneham to Gloucester or Maine and back in one night, a particular favorite being Good Harbor Beach and York Beach. He’d stay with my family for a couple of days when we rented a condo in Rockport. Even then, we always found something to do. Then we were graduating and off to college…At the time I didn’t know how I would function without him, how I’d get through classes and my freshman year, but as it turned out, it was the best thing for us, individually and together. Each summer throughout college was better than the last, making the four years fly by even more. Luckily we had the same spring breaks, and Christmas breaks, which allowed for ample debauchery, long drives, trips to the mall, hikes, do I dare go on? However the summer that was life-changing for me was right around the time I was realizing I was LGBTQ, I had a hard time grappling with it, and Carl was downright concerned and scared, it was not fun. But through it all, he was there, every second of the way and to for that I’m so grateful. He was patient, kind, and empathetic. I count my lucky stars each and every day I have this guy in my life, his honesty, his joy, his ability to be in the moment and listen. Tell me when I’m being ridiculous, but most importantly, being what we’re all so deserving of in this world, an amazing friend. A human who cares so deeply about your well being, successes, and life that he will stop at nothing to let you know that what you’re doing matters.
Now, fast forward to 2008, we graduated college, and he was in town for a couple of months before moving out to Michigan for grad school. A place where he would flourish, find his groove, and find a wonderful partner. Over the course of the eleven years that he’s been out there, every few months he’d ask when I planned to visit, each time met with some resistance whether it was dating, finances, or anything else in between. To be quite honest with you, it was minutiae, it was bullshit, my reasoning for not going out to see him. He’d always come home to see family, and we’d catch up, but it was never enough time, I selfishly wanted to see him for a little while longer, and each and every chance I saw him “You need to come out soon! Book that ticket! You tell me when you’re coming out, and we’ll make it happen!” 2019 rolls around, and I decide, “I need to go out there, I need to see him. When? You can’t take work off! Oh just book it, you’ll be glad you did.” Well June 5th, it happened people, I booked the ticket for June 27-July 1st. I flew into Detroit not expecting anything except to see Carl and Joe and having a good time, getting the chance for a proper catch up. Carl and I drove up to Traverse City on Friday and over the course of four hours, a lot of heart to hearts took place, and it’s in moments like this where I stop and think, man the universe has been good to me. Talked about his life, how he was feeling and coping with various events in his own life; professional, personal, and otherwise. We discussed my plans for the coming months and the next year. There’s something so empowering of telling your best friend of your plans. It’s invigorating. There’s a sense of solidarity, accountability, support, and honesty that is inexplicable. Spending time with him made it more apparent that *I* need to see him more, connect, and really just be there, be open, and make the effort. Carl continues to push me out of my comfort zones without fail.