Numbness is taking over me; it’s torturing me. Everyday I go through the same self-scrutinizing process. Waking up, “What the hell is wrong with me?” Showering, “Why am I such an awful person?” Trying to pay attention in class, “Fuck, my conscience is seriously a hot mess right now.” Routine: I hate it. This vicious circle I feel trapped in is pretty much part of my life right now. The scariest thing by far was my recent revelation of a weird behavior; a disorder. There is something wrong with me. Me. But it’s not my fault. I don’t think I was born this way. I’m a victim. I’m the nasty result of failed parenting. My stupid parents brought me to this world and damaged every part of me. They raised me as if I was the main reason behind their happiness, and then they disowned me. They made me feel like I was at the top of the world, like I was the only thing that mattered to them. I was “The” boy. And then I wasn’t anymore. I became a normal child; an object they tried to make something out of. They wanted me to achieve the things they never had the chance to achieve, and when I couldn’t, they turned their backs on me. They looked at me with sympathy to make me feel like I was loved. And they felt bad because I wasn’t going be as special as my sister. I guess it’s never too late, though. I will make something out of myself. I will do whatever I see fits to get ahead. I will lie to impress people and thrive to feel accepted. I will let them see a fabricated and cool construction of myself, as well as how clever and witty I can be. I will read plenty of books and do a lot of research to prove my intelligence. I will build a facade; a perfect double version of me. An alter-ego. I will make them trust this non-existent and fake entity; this empty shell of a human being, walking around like a ghost. I will make sure I don’t disappoint them. I never want to be seen in a vulnerable and pathetic light ever again. If anyone thinks I am a complete idiot, I could just die! At this point I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.
As I had predicted, the last few months in Freiburg were nothing but a hassle. Even after I got here, I wasn’t immediately convinced by my decision. The thrill and build-up leading to my departure was nothing but exciting. However, when I finally made it here, I quickly started having doubts. I’m giving this a chance, though. Going back home at this point isn’t an option.
The day I left, my parents dropped me off at the airport early in the morning. I struggled to express any sincere emotions as I hugged each of them and said my goodbyes; my mom was acting leery and was emotionally detached which got me almost worried while dad was more cheerful and easygoing about the whole process. I walked through security and checked in before walking to my gate and stood in the waiting line when the time for boarding was announced. When the employee scanned my ticket, she happily announced to me that I was randomly upgraded to first class. On the plane, I walked to my seat which wasn’t hard to find. It was large and had enough room for me to sit down and be comfortable. Soon, a man showed up and sat down on the other side. He was dressed sharply in a navy suit and introduced himself as William Ford, an entrepreneur and chief of an escort agency. I was a bit uncomfortable by his upfront and provocative approach. As he talked more and more about his business, I could tell the reason he brought it up was clearly a way for him to see whether or not I’d be responsive or show any kind of interest. I guess he thought I did since he eventually popped the question and asked if I’d be interested in working with him. At first, I didn’t know whether to be offended or flattered by his offer, but since I had already started prostituting myself months prior, I didn’t want to act like a hypocrite, but still rebuffed his proposition. I took his card, though, and the rest of the flight went smoothly; both of us individually keeping to ourselves.
Coming here was pretty easy, and unlike a lot of other immigrants who suffer from cultural clash, I’m pretty adaptable. There’s so much going on in America; so much innovation and constant change. There’s a very dynamic energy here that Europe, specifically Freiburg, lacked. Iowa City might not be the perfect example of a fast and growing country that never stops, but it being a university town, you can feel the underlying existence of a vibrant lifestyle; one that has no room for boredom. I’m very fortunate to have been able to escape from home and move somewhere far away, and I feel like the possibilities for a clean slate are endless. I’m very excited for the start of a new life.
Upon my arrival, I was greeted by Ryan at the airport; he had a cute, colorful sign saying “Welcome Felix” that I’m definitely keeping. We drove to a coffee shop where I met his boyfriend, Tye. Our conversation could’ve went on and on, but I was too exhausted and needed to make it to Joey’s apartment during the specific time frame we agreed on the day before.
I found Joey on an Iowa City site that provides local classifieds and forums for jobs, housing and merchandise among other things. I needed an apartment to stay at temporarily while I searched for a a one-bedroom somewhere else. I could’ve done that online before I moved, but I didn’t want to make any commitments by picking a place relying only on photographs and wanted to personally check out my options when I got here. It would’ve been easier for me to move into a dorm, but they cost more than an apartment off campus. Joey’s request conveniently coincided with mine; we’ve chatted briefly a few weeks before my move so he could get a sense of what kind of person I was, and he agreed to have me move in.
As Tye helped carry my luggage upstairs, Ryan stopped me and discreetly handed me the fake ID I requested that had my age at twenty-one; it was the only way for me to get into clubs and drink alcohol. His friend Seth was the one who provided it and I was expected to pay two-hundred dollars in exchange for it. Ryan had already given him the money and so I owed him that, but he was nice enough to give me some time to collect the amount when I finally had it. Also, he confessed to me about Tye’s close-mindedness when it came down to illicit activities; that came back to when Tye met him at a very difficult time in his life and helped him get back on his feet after going through dark times of hopelessness and depression, giving him a home and providing him with a safe and normal life environment.
As I unpacked, a successive set of images of my mom shoving clothes in my bags kept flashing before my eyes. It’s like she wanted me gone, not because she hated me, but because she didn’t want to process the grieving process my departure had caused her to feel. She wanted me out of the picture; the week before I left, she made me put away everything I had in my bedroom in boxes she transferred down to the basement. It’s like she didn’t even want to acknowledge I ever existed. For months, she thought I’d change my mind, but my stubborn decisiveness proved otherwise, and since I was never one to carry on with such drastic life decisions, she never thought I’d be strong enough to take the initiative and move. Clearly, she didn’t know how much I resented living with her and dad. Being around them was a blockage to all my efforts to get out of my shell and take full control over my life.
On the other hand, it didn’t take me long to conclude that living with Joey would be a challenge. I have a feeling I won’t survive living with him past the first few months; he has strict rules, a serious case of OCD, and I could easily sense his friendliness is fake; he just needed a roommate so he could temporarily manage his apartment’s rent since he recently quit his job working at a comic book store and is in the process of finding another one. He’s very territorial, and my presence seems to be nothing but a nuisance to him. I’m moving forward with my search for an apartment starting tomorrow.