Putting the pieces together—the next installment for Casey Carlton

For the moment, my Internet connection is buggin’. It always seems to happen in a pattern. I completely lose my wireless one day and around the same time the next day, it’s the same thing. Usually there are strings of days when my connection is perfectly fine. It’s just a pain having to work around things to fix the situation. Anything to avoid the blue screen of death and having to reboot my computer.

On the one side of things, tavern trivia has been sucking for a while… haven’t won in at least a month, maybe two. And we used to come out on top all the time. At least once a month would be nice, but its getting annoying coming anywhere but in the top three, never mind winning.

Today, I more or less dedicated with the song “Born this way” in mind. I have been considering picking the album up again for a little while, but not quite like this. For sure, it’s a mantra that I ought to take more acute interest in… a little something for my self-acceptance issues… all the better to embrace myself so I can be myself around people… then maybe I won’t be as reserved as I’ve been my whole life.

At the moment, I have a montage of clips uploaded that is set to “Clocks” by Coldplay. I picked the clip out after hearing part of the song on the radio… it’s been in my RDJ playlist since its creation and it’s been a while.
but after that, I think I might need a little more to go on than just a montage of clips. Like part 2 of the Wayne Brady interview.

Here’s a good tie-in:
on a lot of questionnaires I’d filled out online for these applications, there was this one question among several where you answer how strongly it describes you:
when your friends are having a hard time, they call you first

I never really thought of myself as the ‘to-go-guy’ in those types of situations. Not that I’ve made myself readily available to lend anyone any advice lately. It seems like everytime I go on Facebook, I’m there for 30 seconds to see if I got any notifications about comments on my status or just my wall. Most of the time, not so much and when I do, it’s a comment on a status I posted a couple days ago. I never really what I post a couple of days previously
my aunt “like”d my status about my new year’s resolution

I’ve felt bad about it, but never really owned up to the fact that most times when I do sign in temporarily, one of my friends shoots me a chat window… he happens to be one of my oldest friends, probably the oldest one that I’m still speaking to. Everyone else before him has kinda faded away. I’d explained how my first bestie, I had in 5th grade and after keeping in touch for a number of years, we fell out of touch. Oddly enough when we started high school and were going to the same high school… only saw each other there once.
This guy and I have been friends since 7th grade… though we met in 6th grade for a social studies project and proceeded to ignore each other for the rest of the year. But the year after, us and one other guy, we were the three musketeers because we had all our core classes together. It was pretty cool while it lasted. I had two other friends I got close with that year, one was through him and another was in our social studies class. I haven’t really heard from or spoken to either of them in a number of years…

It’s so strange how its my girlfriends that I fall out of touch with 9 times out of 10. And I neglected to mention my bestie from 6th grade that I did every other social studies project with…there were a bunch that required pairs or trios. For someone like me, it made things so much easier to just to do things with the same people all the time.

It made absolutely zero sense in middle school to have assigned lunch tables. I sat with maybe 3 people, only one I was close with, in 6th grade. In 7th grade, I was at my bestie’s table where I was pretty much ignored among a group of at least a dozen other girls.
I managed to get it right with my core group of friends that I had gone into earlier.

Middle school was easier when it came to making friends or at least spending time with the friends I made. In high school, I was always on the fringe. Like I was at the lunch table with “David” and his 5 friends but all of the conversations were between them… occasionally I’d get up the courage to say something to him… then I think I was involved in concert choir and the school musicals, but never really settled into any cliques. I was friends with that guy Drew who had dozens of girlfriends that I was exceedingly jealous of. They followed him around like a flock of sheep that there was no way I could compete with. Too many strong personalities… or maybe I just plain felt like an outsider.

College was the only time I really carved out a niche for myself, but most of the carving was done by my friend Sam. She introduced me to different people every time I saw her and with them, I became pretty close.
Hmm… now I feel kinda guilty that I spent most of my time with them talking about Kirby if I was having any conversation with them at all… or starting subjects of conversation, lol

So between not wanting to go into my own issues with my friends and not wanting to say for the million time that nothing new has happened with me, I haven’t been in touch with anyone lately… the exception being my fellow purple knight, but yeah… that doesn’t entirely cut it. I get that way with my friends. I usually associate myself around one person in particular and kinda forget about everyone else. Whether it’s the one I’m harboring feelings for or at the given moment, what we talk about is fulfilling something in my soul that I need in my life at that given time.

I went on Facebook to check my status today, posted a new status to kinda bring people up to speed about my interview. I saw my friend online and decided to at last open up the floor again. This time I’d make the first move and in the back of my head, I hoped that he wouldn’t be too mad that I’ve been ignoring him every time he’d send me a chat msg on Facebook. Apparently, that did not come up at all, which was good.

I always say that I never foresee how conversations are going to go and it suggests I get easily surprised A LOT… truth of the matter, there’s no predicting what anyone is going to say sometimes.

Trust me, all of this stuff ties in together perfectly…

I never figured that I’d be using one character in multiple stories. Never planned on writing my own series or anything… but somehow, it just seemed like my Casey Carlton vehicle has been great when it comes to the down-to-earth stories I’d been writing lately. Down-to-earth inferring that I’m keeping things realistic, resembling real life things and of course, the exact opposite of my fantasy writing.

I first created her as my own Nick Carraway… a narrator who is peripheral to the action driving the story. Although I admit that Casey participates a little more in the storyline than Nick does with Jay Gatsby… maybe I’m wrong and they actually are for the same purpose. I started to reread “The Great Gatsby” and got sidetracked around the first 50 pages. Maybe I ought to check back into it.
That was how I wrote about my Alexis Grace character, Alex “Jolienne” Carine (not that it’s important, but her last name is derived from the Italian word for beautiful… working up that ‘beauty beyond compare’ angle). She was seen through Casey’s eyes as the most beautiful girl in high school, the girl all the guys wanted to date and all the other girls wanted to be just like her. Only when the two of them meet outside the school walls do they establish a connection… it’s very poetic actually the way it all turned out.

My only shortcoming on that project, I think, was that I might not have been accurate enough to what a leukemia patient goes through with chemo, radiation and all that stuff. Well, actually I think graced over a lot of the details, rather than going into them…

Let’s see… Casey volunteered her afterschool time at the hospital not only to gain experience, but to be there for moral support for people going through the most difficult of treatments, the ones that don’t often have loved ones visiting them. It’s her way of paying it forward from when she had the surgery I had. I’ve been kinda meaning to write up that story too, using a lot of the details of things I went through… there isn’t too much research to be done there, nor do I have to think too hard about how to cover up my not knowing too much on things. I know plenty.
I’ve considered rewriting the story so Alex would be her hospital roommate when she’s recovering from the surgery and stuff… I might end up writing another character up entirely… or better yet, someone who is being to Casey what she’d been to the people she’s been helping.

Good as gold, she has unlimited potential as a character. She could be the part of me that wants to be the humanitarian.

Of course, I went into great detail about all this over the past six months… perhaps more… supposing I knew someone in Julian’s predicament, how would I help them, how would I react to all of it… so naturally she was the perfect vehicle.
Again, I flaw a little bit in the initially intended design. The story is more through her actions than his… she’s stuck, unsure of what to do with the career she’s pursuing so her mentor recommends working with a certain patient at an adolescent rehabilitation clinic. Three chapters are spent with her trying to get through to him, ending with her walking out on him. I bring Alex back into the picture as the motivating force for Casey not to quit… then quite uncharacteristically Julian cons his way through rehab to make things right… yeah, that makes a whole lot of sense, but there had to be some drastic turn-around. Plus it would help separate him a bit more from the character I’m almost deliberately ripping off from Bret Easton Ellis.

Now this is something I’d had in mind for at least the past 6-7 months, whenever it was when I suddenly found myself vying for gay rights, gay equality and all that. I was always kinda for gay marriage beforehand and if anything, I didn’t think too much of it. Didn’t think it was a big deal the way a lot of other people did.
At this moment, I just need to celebrate the fact that Michelle Bachmann dropped out of the presidential race.

The conversation with my friend came to the election and I mentioned I didn’t like her or Sarah Palin, giving my reasons in brief. Naturally, I was letting my attitude off its leash, saying how strongly I was opposed to the ‘pray the gay away’ program… then oddly I thought about the gay teen suicides that have been occurring more frequently lately. In both cases, he said that those things have been going on for years and had only recently been given an outlet to be discussed.

I never know what to expect when it comes to my friends… and pretty much, I’m open to so many things. I’m definitely a good listener in case anyone (other than me) wants to vent and most definitely, when it comes to this particular issue, I’m open for it. Never changed the way I felt about anyone in my life.
The other musketeer I fell out of touch with, most of it was my fault (though I don’t regret my stance on the thing that caused the rift… had nothing to do with anything that came up in the later years). My friend suspected that he not only had an eating disorder because he magically lost 50 something pounds over the summer… the only way I can put it into perspective was saying that it was like Jonah Hill’s recent transformation… but also that he was gay, but didn’t want to come out and admit it.

At this point, the two of us weren’t really speaking, so it wasn’t going to matter either way. I mean, we’re friends on Facebook but he’s never acknowledged me with a message since accepting my friend invite…

When it comes to that, though, I don’t think anyone should really be pressured to come out of the closet… that’s what infuriated me about what happened with Clay Aiken, he was dogged for a couple years about whether or not he was gay until he finally came out with it… in light of becoming a dad with someone he was a sperm donor for…

Now I’m not going to pretend I wasn’t pissed off that the speculation was true… not that I had a chance with him, but now there’s clearly no chance at all kinda sucks that a lot of good looking guys don’t play for my team, as if its bad enough I can’t get a man in general… aw hell with it, I’m not even looking at the moment, I shouldn’t be complaining.

Speaking of Clay Aiken, it’ll be interested to see him on the next cast of the Celebrity Apprentice… like, omg… it could go one of two ways, he could be the first one gone because, you know, all the speculation and stuff that created a firestorm on the internet, some of the people on the show might make it a hot button… or he could be a contender. I’m betting his charity is going to be geared towards special education or special-needs children, as he was a special ed. Teacher. Him along with Teresa of NJ Housewives (hello fireworks), Mario Andretti, Penn Jilette (seriously, is there any reality show he is NOT on at some point), Tia Carrare and a bunch of other people… most of which I have actually heard of.

Okay, so how I’m going to bring all of this around so everything kinda makes sense… kinda did a lot of sidetracking.
Might as well cut to the chase and build up from there.

Recently my friend sent me a friend request for another profile with his name… I was a little confused by it, but regardless, I accepted it. With everything that had been discussed so far and because he seemed to have my attention, he told me that he was bi.
My first reaction was something like “whoa…” because it kinda came out of nowhere. I mean, with people who are bi, it’s much harder to tell that they can play both sides… but then again, gay men are easier to spot in general :shrug: I’ll try not to say any more on that or else I’d come off a little negative.
I chose my words very carefully, but I was curious about a lot of things… like how long he’d known, how many people he’d told, things like that…

Naturally, it’s another a million instances I come across every now and then… someone else I know has gone through more and deal with more $#^@ than I ever had… their lives have been much harder than mine for a number of reasons… life’s hard enough as it is and every now and then, I feel that mine is pretty hard because I lack the confidence due to lack of success… that’s all I have to go on. I’m otherwise in a very good place, living at home with a loving family. I’d take it a step further, but I don’t want to detract too much from anything particularly important.

Coming out of discussion of the program, I think I said something like ‘voluntary or not, I don’t like the idea of an organization based around telling people something is wrong with you so you have to do something constructive about it’… and he said he couldn’t agree more.

Now, I got really bent out of shape about what David Yost went through in coming to terms with his sexuality… how he was in the program for 2 years, it didn’t work so he was considering suicide… then one way or another, he found a way to make his weakness his strength… in that he’s one of those people that make the Trevor project as great as it is.

It’s one thing for a celebrity that I happened to care a lot about in my time… and I still do. My appreciation for him has remained unchanged for the past 15 years despite the fact he hasn’t been in the public eye.
But it’s another when you personally know someone who has gone through it.

What makes things kinda difficult in my friend’s case is his background. I think a couple of times we hung out, it was in his youth group with his church. His family was definitely the kind that went to church regularly. That makes it a very tricky subject to approach… for that reason, he only told one of his sisters the truth. A couple of his other friends know, but nobody he works with or that he goes to church with.

More or less, the situation went like this:
he went to the program for a while, it didn’t work. There was a lot of confusion and shame all wrapped up in it… last year it got to a point where… boy, I’m starting to have trouble typing this… it got to be a little too much. He cut himself a couple of times, ended up in the hospital, had bouts of therapy and medication. I made sure to check how things are going at present and offered the scenario ‘have you fully accepted yourself or is it the ‘some days are better than others’ thing?’… he said it was the latter…

Basically that was it. I tried to keep things as light as I could, tried not to push things… but we’d known each other for at least… wow… we’d been friends for roughly 11 years… we know each other pretty well. He was one of the few people I let in on the fact I was depressed when I was in college and he’d tell me that I should get help… those were during my low nights and naturally after a few things happen in the next 12 hours or so, I feel better and really don’t want to revisit that territory.
Right now, I’m pretty much open for anything, open for any discussion.

Being gay is one thing, but being bi… that sounds even trickier to deal with. I mean when it comes to dating, how do you go about that? Do you keep that fact hidden from people, afraid they’ll turn out down otherwise or are you open with it… it sounds something like in InuYasha where he’s half-demon and half-human and neither world accepted him…

It’s things like this where I wonder if I’m merely bi-curious or I really can play both sides of the field… but forget all that…

I’m not sure any bullying came into the picture and I’m a little hesitant to ask if it had… in our conversation about the recent string of suicides, I got to thinking that maybe a couple of the people at my high school that killed themselves did for those reasons… other than one, I don’t know any of them to really speculate even if I wanted to.
I just have to say that’s some scary stuff… that I could have lost one of my best friends to something like this… just because people have trouble accepting people who aren’t what they consider normal…

From the evolutionary standpoint, when it comes to animals and such, homosexuality exists in nature, supposedly so some individuals can’t carry on their genetic material to the next generations…
but from the human standpoint, I can’t quite explain why other manners of sexuality exist. I’ve pretty much pegged it down to not being a genetic trait and not a product of environment… it’s a little something extra that goes beyond DNA… and I think it’s there just so other kinds of love can exist on this planet. It helps bring certain people together who were meant to be together… now with bisexuality, it’s a little tougher to explain. But what I ultimately figure is that some people are born that way so they are able to give something of value to a number of different people… that something being love, companionship and everything else under the sun in that particular realm.

Another thing I found kinda interesting was that he came into this understanding… well, maybe the climax of everything… he’d known for years… February… and I figured I’d let him go through the motions of telling me what needed to be told rather than saying…

You know, it’s strange how February tends to set the tone for the year I’m going to have more than January does… February 2007 brought Prince into my life… but after that, I’m not quite positive if it’s consecutively true… maybe the following year in February was when I met Sam and everything started to take off from there, granted there was a break in between for the summer… but it was a semester where I couldn’t wait to go back to school after summer ended… because I had friends to go back to… a tiny bit had to do with the fact I didn’t have that deli job anymore, which I kinda lost my appetite for after my buddy got fired for doing/dealing drugs on-site

Shoot, how could I have totally forgotten it came down to that? I never saw him again after that… it would have been scary if narcotics were what he was involved with… either way, I couldn’t tell that he was on anything, if he was at all.
He definitely wasn’t strung out the way that guy on Judge Judy was the other day.

I’d considered the idea of turning my deli counter summer into a murder mystery where he’s found out to be the killer… which ultimately sucks because I suspected someone else the entire time… she happened to be the night shift queen… yeah, life sucks like that. All of the nice people are the ones that bad things happen to. I don’t know the whole story of course so I might be in the dark about a lot of it… still doesn’t take away the fact he made me enjoy going there everyday… it was just a little brighter when he was around.
that’s still on the table for possibilities… its just a matter of… well, maybe an outline would be a good place to start

Anyway, before I completely lose my eyes… and they’re starting to go pretty fast here… so I guess I won’t be able to watch more than one clip montage I downloaded earlier.

Ever since hearing David Yost’s story, I’ve considered having Casey Carlton pay homage to it… she befriends a guy or maybe she’d been friends with him for a long time…
haha… it’d be interesting, actually… if I gave him a name like Dillion… a little tongue-in-cheek joke right out of “Due Date”… because my two female characters happened to be called Alex and Casey… I think the list consisted of Alex, Casey, Jordon, Dillion, Taylor, Tyler, possibly Skylar… they could all potentially be girls’ names “why not just cut to the chase and call him Cindy”…
and it so happens that the drug dealer Ethan sees for medical marijuana, one of her kids is a girl named Alex
“Alex is also a name for a boy so your mom kinda screwed ya”…

Dillon… I do kinda like the ring it has to it at the moment… hmm…

The only tricky thing I have to figure out… how, if at all, I’d incorporate the program into the story… I don’t really see it going too well either way… I mean he could consider it, suggest doing it and Casey says that she thinks it’s a bad idea, it’ll set him up for disappointment… that’s a little harsh and it’s a little too predictable that things don’t work out…
the key elements are that he will be bullied, she’s the first person he comes out to… maybe before, maybe after the bullying starts… there will be a suicide attempt that doesn’t succeed in its purpose and one way or another, things end up working out

Interestingly enough… despite the chronology being a little off… Julian might be a great character to bring back into it… as an off-base source of advice…
I can kinda see the characters interacting, but there’s one issue. He could say that Casey is worth listening to and Dillon could just rip his head off, saying he knows that because they’d known each other for years…

Yeah, it’s established that they’ve been friends for a long time… but I’m thinking that when Casey sees Julian, she is in her junior year of college… when would Dillon be a critical character… her senior year? Her first year of nursing school? A lot to figure out… but you know, I can’t turn down the idea of turning this guy around into a source of good advice.

Still no Internet… oh well…
I think I do have some more things to work out, details, but I do have more to work with than I did before… I’m sure within a few days I’ll be able to work on my first draft for that or at least get something started.

Okay, I managed to get it back. had to watch that clip first…

Wow… I don’t think I’d seen it in MONTHS… because there were dozens of movies there that I totally recognized here and others I definitely couldn’t have the first couple times I watched it… I knew all the obvious ones, but I ID’d a couple others like Fur, Home for the Holidays, The Shaggy Dog, A Guide to Recognizing your Saints, two girls and a guy and Game 6… to name a few… but it was pretty tough to watch some of it… knowing what I know now… and yeah, heavy stuff. But I think I knew that when I signed up for this 😉

maybe I opened a can of worms by getting my Internet back… there’s no telling how many more clips I’ll watch tonight now that I have it… and of course I’m wide awake now 😕 now if I could bottle up that high, I could totally give up coffee in the morning

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