I was a lonely kid with few friends. I sometimes wonder if I ever had any real friends at all. I know I had some, and I know I had “friends” who I had known for many years. But can I say I had a group of genuine “friends” who knew me, who cared about me, and who enjoyed my company? I always come back to images of me and Joseph. In some images, we’re smiling; in some he’s looking at me like I’m weird, which to me describes who I was as a kid, awkward, shy, and far from normal. Joseph was the person I had known for the longest time as a kid, longer than any other kid (from elementary school to high school), besides Chris (my step brother, who I hardly considered family), and yet I’m not sure if we were ever friends. I think he only put up with me because we lived close together. Most of his friends hated me. I see random images of me and other kids. I don’t even know most of their names anymore. In my head, I see a picture of me in the water of a small, inflatable pool with a slightly older kid that lived several houses down from me. I see pictures of various groups of people that I knew, some in high school, some in junior high, some at bus stops, some at lunch tables, one on the street while we were playing tag, one in the back corner of the high school with a big group of nerds and geeks I once hung out with in my senior year of high school. In almost every image, except 1 or 2, I see myself as an outsider, that one guy “that nobody likes” as Dane Cook so accurately describes it. (”There's always someone in every group of friends that nobody likes.”) With one or two exceptions, none of those people knew I was gay (though many suspected, and made fun of me for it). The one time I had a friend who knew I was gay (she found out through somewhat unconventional means), she supported me until eventually her other friends turned against me and convinced her to do the same. Not only did I lose that friend, but word of my sexuality spread to other groups that I knew and I slowly became an even greater outcast than I already was. This was in Junior High, and I’ve only revealed my sexuality to two other people since, my aunt and my sister. (My aunt now lives pretty far from me and we hardly talk. And after some pretty horrible things that happened between us, I no longer consider my sister family anymore.) I’ve also done some stupid things as a kid. I messed around with my step brother, Chris. I was curious and horny. I managed to convince him, on several occasions, to do things with me that he really didn’t want to do. Though I enjoyed it and was too naive to realize the damage I was doing to him, I think I really fucked him up. I don’t know what he thinks about me, and I’m not even sure if he fully remembers what happened between us back then (I suspect he may have blocked or distorted the events in his mind) but I do believe that I caused him to be a troubled kid. He was a bad kid in school. He got into fights and had bad grades. He’d been caught for stealing, etc. I know it’s not just my fault that he turned out so badly. His father was abusive, mentally and at times physically. His mother was neglectful. But I didn’t make things any better for him. He’s a more stable person now as an adult, I think, but I can’t help but wonder what kind of person he might have been if he had never met me. I think a lot of my childhood was marred by my sexuality, which has greatly distorted my view on sexuality and on happiness. It’s also, I think, why I feel so lonely. I feel that I’ve never had anyone to talk to (even though I have had a few people, there was only one time where I felt safe and comfortable to be gay around a person who knew, and it was with that girl who eventually turned against me). I’m sure I would have been a much happier person if I had been born straight. I knew (even from before becoming a teen) that I wanted to die. I just never knew how I would make it happen. I was ten, or younger, when thinking about the future, about high school and about life beyond that, and I knew I’d never live that long. I couldn’t imagine living that long, and was certain I would commit suicide before I ever got that old. I regret not having stuck to the plan. As an adult (I’m not even sure I feel right calling myself that), I’ve barred myself into a fake and immutable existence, surrounded by games, the internet, tutoring, “school”, and loneliness. I don’t have friends, except one, Omar. I don’t really know why he likes me, but he does, and it seems genuine. There are other people who might consider me a nice person, who might even consider me a friend, but I don’t think I am one to anyone besides him. And I’m hardly a friend to him. I never do anything with him and the only time we talk is at work. But he’s one of the few people I genuinely enjoy being around, and I think it’s because he seems to enjoy being around me. I allow my life to slip by me, and I excuse it by convincing myself I’ll commit suicide at some point in the near future, so it won’t matter that I’ve done nothing with my life. I regret every day of my life for letting each go by like every day before, wasted and pointless. Every day I imagine death, and only on a few of those days does it not seem welcome and desirable. I think I feel right now more than I have felt in a long time that I don’t want to die. But I still feel so useless, empty and lonely. My future is uncertain. Whenever I hear or imagine the question, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” the answer that almost always comes to mind is, “Dead.” I can’t actually give that answer if asked that question; I’d have to make one up. I don’t have a plan for the future. I can’t imagine a future that isn’t filled with as much suffering and loneliness as my present and past have been. I don’t see myself ever being normal and I can’t imagine myself ever being happy because I can’t imagine ever having anything to be happy for. I have no prospect for a decent job because I’ve wasted my education. I have no prospect for a family because I’m gay and insecure with my sexuality. I have no prospect for having friends because I’m awkward and anti-social. And if I’m not happy, what reason do I have to live? Thinking back on my life, I always assumed I was insane. I figured it was a chemical imbalance that has made me the anti-social and depressed person I am. Maybe that’s true, but after having written all this, I’m pretty sure my real problem is that I have no hope and I feel no reason to try when I feel I have nothing worth trying for. I also have wondered if the source of my unhappiness is my laziness and if all the other reasons are just an excuse. Am I lazy? I think after so many years of not caring, laziness has become a habit that I’ll find hard to break, but laziness is not the cause of my problems; loneliness is.