I was sitting here, sipping coffee, and thinking about the fact that in 18 days, I’ll be 55. I wasn’t really thinking about any one thing in particular when I saw that John had posted a blog about losing one’s virginity. As I read what he wrote, my mind automatically flashed back to September 23, 1963 – my 8th birthday and the day I lost my virginity. I have to note that I had no conscious intentions on putting my mind in the gutter, so I have John to thank for that – thanks, dude!
I also have to defend John in that I would have eventually gotten around to thinking about that day in 1963 because I always do when my birthday approaches…
I think about my life to date, going as far back into my memories as possible so I can see where I’ve been, which tells me how I got to where I am now, so I will have some idea of where I’m going in the future. September is a month where I get more reflective than at other times because, as I get older, well, there’s a lot that has to be reflected upon. Of course, there are some things I can remember with crystal clarity while other things remain murky, like looking at something through swirling fog; you can see something and maybe with a bit of extra concentration, you can just make out what it is. One of my earliest memories was from where I was maybe 2 or 3. I was at my grandparents’ home and I can remember toddling over to the TV set they had and changing the channel. I remember they were watching a baseball game and was very unhappy with my little black ass…
The memory is persistent, as is my 8th birthday – indeed, a lot of my memories are like that while others, even some of the more recent ones, are getting fuzzier every year; having had a stroke didn’t help in that regard either. But I can still remember the highlights of my life and all the things that shaped me into the man I am right this minute. As I think back about 9/23/63, I remember the party because it was one of the few real parties I ever had as a child. I got my first watch that day – a Timex – along with cards (some with money, some without), a nice cake, and other presents I can’t quite remember. I can, however, remember the best birthday present I ever got as a child and, nope, it wasn’t a typical present by any stretch of the imagination.
I tell people how and when I lost my virginity and the response is usually, “Wow… talk about getting started early!” I usually just shrug and smile at the response, my adult mind just accepting that it is what it was, even though the much deeper thoughts clearly show how that day put me onto a path upon which there was no going back… and often makes me wonder if having been able to grab a carrot like that, being the highly inquisitive and (supposedly) intelligent child that I was, was a good thing or not… and I still have mixed feelings about it – but mostly good feelings.
As with every approaching birthday, I look at things and ask myself, “What if this had happened or what if this hadn’t happened…” and, for me, it’s a lot of fun to try to figure out how different I would have been from the man I am right now. What if Bernadette, the girl who deflowered me that day, never did what she did? Would I have gotten deflowered much later in life and, as a result, never learned the things I did learn going forward? My mind kinda locks up on this one after a few seconds of thought because I just can’t imagine how not losing my cherry that day would have affected me, other than knowing for a fact that, um, I wouldn’t have gotten into a lot of the stuff I did get into.
It always winds up being a moot point and I always wind up telling myself that, yeah, I would have been very different than I am now – I just have no idea about how different I would have been. I actually give thanks to Bernadette, both for her unselfish gift to me that day and for setting the stage for my future development along a great many lines. You know, I never questioned her about why she gave me her body that day; I have always just accepted the fact that a lot of people were not close to be well-off in our neighborhood and her telling me that she wanted to give me the only thing she could give actually made sense… once I got old enough to make sense of it. Were her intentions as she stated? Did she have some other motive in mind? I’ll never know… and I don’t want to.
I’ve found that with me, sex and sexuality are indicators of how I’ve progressed over the years, along with all the usual things. It used to shame the hell out of me to think about the early sexual education I got and how I got it. I’ve come to understand that my bisexuality played a very big role in who I am, not because of the sex involved, but because having that duality allowed me to look at more than one side of any given thing, giving my budding intelligence something to grab onto and allowed me to be an exceptional student. Of course, I didn’t figure that part out until I was a lot older but I can now clearly see how losing my cherry in that fashion and on that day impacted my life.
I had my first orgasm/ejaculation the summer of 1964 – man, that was funny as hell; I had my first sexual encounter with a man not too long after that – and I’m talking a couple of weeks, not years. Those things came together and put me on the path of knowledge that maybe I had no business being on at such a young age. That first orgasm/ejaculation scared the living daylights out of me, mostly because I had no idea what was happening – but some trips to the library downtown answered all those questions and, if nothing else, I learned how to investigate things that baffled me and where I could go to find out what I needed to know. Even the fact that parents were reluctant about explaining that moment – and I did ask (got grounded for doing the nasty, too) – taught me something.
The encounter that “made” me bisexual? I actually never questioned why it happened until I was not only much, much older but had engaged in such things more times than I care to think about; when things are fun, you kinda never ask yourself why they’re fun. But I did eventually ask myself – on a birthday – why that particular thing happened, using my ability to see lines of progression and to look at a situation and figure out why something happened the way it did. I know why and I even understand the nature of the whole thing, even how totally sordid the experience was and after years of thought about it, if I had a chance to go back to that moment and change it, I wouldn’t.
Again, it’s one of those things that when I ask myself what kind of person I’d be if it had never happened, my brain just locks up after a few moments of thought and one thing I realize is that had it not happened, I don’t think I would have become “open-minded” when I did, if at all. Maybe – just maybe – I would have been like a lot of other guys and “discovered” bisexuality much later in life but I do know, with some degree of certainty, that I would have never learned the things I did learn had I not gotten introduced early in life.
I even think about the details of that and gained such a necessary insight into how people behave in certain situations, which got me started into wondering why people do the things they do, especially when they’re supposed to know better than to do them. It even taught me that it’s just not about what you do in life that matters; it’s why things happened in the way they did, how they shaped you or otherwise impacted your life as you know currently know it. Again, I actually found myself thanking that man for having sex with me that day; had he left me alone – as he should have – I wouldn’t know what I know about such things and, thus, not learned a whole lot about life and why things happen and all that.
Sometimes, it’s not what you do – it’s what you learn from it, if anything. When you reflect as I do every year, it’s not always about life’s ups and downs, the things accomplished or the things you’ve failed at along the way; it’s simply about the why of it all. I ask myself on certain things, “What were you thinking about? Were you even thinking?” I find myself saying things like, “Well, if I knew then what I know now…” You might think this is worthless thinking but it really isn’t because if you can look at a past situation and, today, think of how you would have done something differently if you could have, there’s something to be learned. If nothing else, it gives you insight into who you were at that time, but if you’re of a mind to, you can see how those events helped make you the person you are now. Yeah, you can’t go back and change them but it’s often fun to wonder what life would be like if you could.
It sounds weird to say it – even weirder to admit it – but had it not been for sex, I wouldn’t be who I am right now. For some, having sex so early in life can be damaging and things that some people can never recover from or learn how to cope with, which is why, as parents, we drive home the point with our kids to not have sex until they’re old enough to deal with it and, no, we’re not talking physically. I look back at the events that took place between 9/23/63 and 9/23/64 and wonder if they did, in fact, damage me in some way. Certainly, I can see how they could have been horribly damaging but after spending a lot of time over a whole lot of years thinking about this, I think I came out of that period of my life unscathed and undamaged, unless you call asking a lot of questions about stuff I wasn’t supposed to know about damaging. I do believe that had I not gained a certain understanding when I did, I might have been scarred for life, just as a lot of people are in such situations. But I wanted and needed to know… and I found out.
It’s probably the reason why a lot of adults used to tell me that I was wise beyond my years. Well, having sex so early did help in that – but I also have my parents to thank for giving me their “smart” genes that allowed me to be so curious about everything.
My birthday reflections will continue for another 18 days and if I’m still as consistent as I think I am, come September 23, 2010, I’ll find, as I always have, that I’m quite okay, thank you. Got some issues, some that come with age, some that are stroke related but, yeah, it’s all good because I will find that my life could have been a lot worse than it is now. I think about all the things I’ve done and what I’ve learned from them all. I’ll nod to myself and smile because I’m still happy about my life, right from the beginning and hope to be as I continue to move forward.