Episode Five:

Colleen: Well, if I ever grow up, I want to go into Youth Ministry or Pastoral Ministry in the Catholic Church. I know it seems kinda strange considering my background, but I've always known that as what I want to do.

Edwin: Colleen, Iím just wondering, but what would happen if you were helping out at a children's retreat, and during a regular discussion (non-retreat related), suddenly the topic amongst the kids was homosexuality... what would you personally do?

Colleen: That's a really good question... and one I struggle with. I think I would take the stance of loving everyone, not promoting hate because of differences. I would not, though, bring my sexuality into a discussion like that because it is not the place. Now, if a teen were really struggling with their own sexuality, to a point where it became dangerous, I might relay on my own experiences. Then again, I might find a parish that is open to anything.

Edwin (Confessional): I think right now Iím trying to convince myself to label me as heterosexual, but the urges towards guys have been stronger than ever... and it doesn't help that some guy that I see all the time is hot and he sets off my gaydar. Even though Colleen is a lesbian and I supposedly am of a different orientation, I don't think that we have bonded because of that fact, in truth, I think that it caused more friction than bonding... but the fact that other things we have in common, have helped us bond somewhat.

Philip: A few weeks ago, I saw this really good presentation on abuse issues --- it was from an Episcopal preacher, who now is a consultant all over the country to different agencies & various denominations on the topic of abuse. One of his abuse issues - religious abuse... how the church will sometimes use it's "overwhelming" power to get what it wants, demeaning women, issues on divorce, domestiv violence... a lot of different things. I think the more open a church is & the more realistic to God's image they are the better for everyone attending.

Edwin: I feel dirty. I can't believe I did it. On Tuesday, I got wasted... really bad. And I preached about drunk driving. And I even stated how much I drank per year. But so much has happened this past weekÖ I called my parent's house. My dad answered. He has agreed that I should go to my house this weekend and go pick up the things from my room and he also told me that my brothers wanted to see me againÖ It also seems that something in my father and mother has changed about their view on me. So that's the good stuff. Now for some bad things that happened, I told you that Jason was one of my friends that was drinking along with me during my early high school years with Mark. What I didn't tell you that he has AIDS and is dying. I knew that Jason had AIDS and I love him for living out his life with AIDS. It hurts me to know that he's dying from the disease du jour. But he's a strong guy and he's a great guy. Monday, Jason called me up he told me that his t-cell count is at its lowest and had its biggest drop yet. He told me that he wants me to go back to Chicago and help him out. Jason is heterosexual, and a good-looking guy. Right now, Iím stuck between two worlds. I can stay in California and attempt to recreate the ties to my family that I once had or I can go to Jasonís side to watch him die. Right now, Iím going to go back into my depressive, reflective state (in the fetal position also) and going to drink away my sorrows [and be the hypocrite that I so much loathe].

Scott: Edwin, I am so, so sorry to hear that story, I cannot believe it. I really hope you make the right decision on whether going or staying. I don't know what your life is like right now, but I know Jason is losing his and I am sure that it would mean the world to him, and to you, if you could be at his side in his final days. When my father died, I only wish I could have been near him more, even though it hurt to see him, but getting that closure, and that feeling that you were a great friend till the very end, is a great feeling. It makes saying goodbye a lot easier. I hope this does not make you feel guilty, that is the last thing I would want to do, but please, be with him if you realistically can. I know you will make the right decision because you love him. I just want you to know that you are in my prayers and that God never gives you more than He knows you can handle.

Scott (Confessional): Edwin? Drink? Right now? No! He can't be doing this. I just feel for him right now so incredibly much. He needs to let Edwin shine through and prove to himself what he is all about. I know he can, and will do it, Iím just a little scared and nervous for him right now because I don't know where his head is...

Edwin (Confessional): I previously stated that I stayed away from beer/alcoholic beverages and took only one drink per few months. And I just recently got wasted these past few nights.

Colleen: OK Edwin... you're posts just bring me back to so much that has happened in my life. You've got an amazing ability to make me think of things I don't want to... to help support a friend. I'm sorry about Jason. AIDS is a scary disease... I've seen too many people I know and love been hurt by it. Stay strong, don't drink too much... and if you need anything, find me.

Edwin: So I suppose that my journals will soon be about a dying man rather than my low life, crappy, lazy-ass, actor wannabe, faggot happenings.

Beth: This whole message board format thingie has been getting to me since this project began... I've found it really rough trying to connect with you guys, despite how badly I'd like to. And this whole thread has driven that point home more than ever since... well, I just really want to give you a big hug, Edwin. Don't go overboard. Being what some have described as an alcoholic, when you're down like that can be a very risky time to drink. I guess I'll leave it at that. You're a big boy now and know what the bottle's all about. So stay strong, know that the whole board has you on their collective mind now, and don't hide from your heart.

Edwin: I do feel like I want to be heterosexual so I can get all this stuff behind me... In fact, I really haven't come out to many people... just my parents, VERY close friends... and that's it... so if I do decide to go back to the "normal" path, it has been left open for my arrival... and Iím seriously thinking about it. It would make my life so much easier if I could just BECOME heterosexual or at least label myself as one... sigh... if only society was not this way.  

Philip: Scott - Sheesh bud, what don't we know about you? Any dark, deep skeletons in your closet that you might be interested in sharing?

Scott: Huh? Me? I really, really don't think I have told you guys like anything about me really so far. I mean, ya, you guys know what I like to do, where I work and some things about me, but itís easier to talk about the things that don't apply to most people than others. Trust me, I have a few definite skeletons in my closet that I don't know if I will ever tell anyone. I know a few certain things about me that nobody else on this planet knows, I hope anyways, and I wish some people knew, but I can't tell some things... as I said before I think, in some other message or whatever, I have a hard time actually telling people stuff because I don't want to inconvenience themÖ to all my friends I am known as "the listener", and often it sux. I like helping my friends, but it can be an overload at times. I think its because I speak very firmly and often with me its like..."either do this, or this". And just do it! Basically, I have authority in my life and I use it all the time to live life to the fullest and not waste time with petty issues.

Scott (Confessional): Philip is really, really cool. He is just plain awesome. I feel a bond with him right now more than any one else here and I just think we have had similar experiences and reacted to them in similar ways. We also have similar humor and think in the same way- we both are conscious of our surroundings, and we evaluate situations we see to help out own lives and others' lives.  I think we are already becoming a crutch, so to speak, for one another; heís becoming a friend.

Scott: Well, Iím going to get a topic of conversation going again, so here's one I hope we all answer and talk about... right now in my life I do not want a relationship. I am 19 and there are so many things I want to do for myself and I don't want to compromise who I am right now or what I want to do, at any time. I think I partially can't get over that because when my father was sick, before he died, I was close to him, and I knew he was going to die, I knew my time with him was going to be over and I hate that I think that way when it comes to my relationships right now in my life. So for yíall, do you want a relationship if you don't have one and why or why not? Also, if you have one (Josie, hehe) do you enjoy it and what makes it so good and special for you?

Philip: I'm with you right now; I don't want a relationship. I've had a problem for a while with really being able to figure out what my feelings are for people & how others TRULY feel about me. Part of it is also because I'm so busy. It wouldn't be fair to either one of us if I we couldn't spend time together because of me. Last year I thought I did, but no...I'm not up for it at all.

Scott: Ya, totally Phil. I am so busy too and it wouldn't be fair to the girl or to myself either. Iím content right now and all is good. Right now, Iím just all about doing whatever is fun at that moment, whatever the hell that may be at the time...

Renee: I am ambivalent toward the whole relationship thing. I would love one because I am sick of being single all the time, but I am fine without one too. I am convinced that being single is equally as fulfilling as a relationship with all of its ups and downs. I have been single forever though, it seems. I only had one boyfriend that I think I truly loved, and the love didnít even hit me until we had broken up. College is the perfect time to experiment with guys, and I feel like the opportunities are slipping through my fingers. I have just been really boy crazy lately... and really horny too.

Philip: The past couple of days have been really interesting. Stuff just keeps piling up, but I just have had not the least slightest interest in keeping up with it. I'm starting to lose interest in what I do... and I don't like that. As for Highway & traffic safety - the grant that pays me; well, I feel like I'm not doing enough. BURG, R.H.A., S.G.A., AIDS Peer Educators, the Wrestling Club, NRHH - you name it, I'm on it. If it's not there, I made it myself to be on it. But, it's been so much of an uphill battle - but I almost wouldn't have it any other way. Wrestling is something I like to do. I've done it since I was 10. I haven't been on team since high school; however, I'm getting back into it. First with the Wrestling Club I started here at Frostburg & now am trying to go on professionally & find more places that have amateur practices. One coach actually told me this - he thought I was weird for wanting to stay in wrestling! As for the dizzy part, I've had this weird kind of dizziness since Sunday night (I didn't sleep really then, so that might be part of it - but it's just not going away). The Health Center put me on some decongestants, just in case I had some kind of sinus block or something. Tomorrow I go back for a check up... if it's not any better they're going to put my on some anti-Vertigo medicine (but from what people told me, I don't have Vertigo...the room isn't spinning, I am).

Scott: Dude, Phil, that is quite a lot going on right now. Are you ok also? youíve been dizzy and kinda ill for a little while now, huh? Let me know and I can help you. I am good listener and I like helping my buds.

Scott (Confessional): Well, Philip just keeps getting cooler by the minute and I really like him. He understands me and I understand him. At some point, someone was complaining about NOT bonding, but you have to put in an effort to make friends and maintain those relationships. They are not going to just fall in your lap... they take work, hard work, and effort and persistence is something that is required... if you can do this, friendships form, like mine with Philip. I hope more form though... and people wake up to this.

Philip: I can deal with the workplace stuff where I do the Highway & Traffic Safety & substance abuse prevention... it's more of the actual work. I feel a little burnt out in general. I need a vacation something bad; but instead, it sometimes works out where I take on more instead of going "hold on" for a second. It's not that it's too much for me to handle... just that much for such a long period of time. As for the dizziness, I don't know where this is coming from. I'm going back tomorrow since this really isn't going away.

Scott: Iím glad youíre going to see the doctor tomorrow for the dizziness. Heíll make it all better hopefully. Well, as for work, ya, take a vacation. Itís summer and you are doing sooooo many things right now and its totally ok to take a step back sometimes in your life.

Philip: Yeah, there's that - but also money & timing...

Scott: I know, I know. Itís so much easier said than done, but hey, Iím an optimist. Well, good luck with it all, you'll be great soon.

<End>

On the next Cyberland:

Joe and Scott get into an argument about what Joe wants out of life. Josie has those pre-wedding jitters as the day comes closer. A webmates week long absence results in a changed person- one the webbies may just not like.