It’s strange to think how much I’ve experienced in these past twenty-five years. So much learning, so many opportunities taken, many others passed on by. There has been such an abundance of individual growth. I wanted to take a moment to share with you some of the highlights, lowlights and other lights in between that have spent the last quarter of a century molding me into who you now know as Brogan.
My imagination has filled my life to the brim! I’ve been the Blue Ranger, a Pokemon master, a fireball tossing plumber and any number of other heroes. I’ve spent time as a giant robot made out of boxes, a wizard battling monsters, a monster devouring wizards, a diver swimming deep into the ocean of my living room carpet and a caped crusader flying high above my toy chest with the towel around my neck rippling in the breeze. Days worth of hours of showers have been devoted to enacting a thousand different possibilities of conversations that more often than not don’t actually ever happen. Imaginary worlds still thrive in my mind long after their inception. Countless clouds have been assigned shapes and titles only to metamorph into something totally, mind-blowingly different moments later. My dreams have taken shape, been molded, discarded and remade. And in the seventh grade, in the middle of science class, I watched as a purple dragon named Fred hatched on a girls head across the table from me.
I fell in love with sound. It started early in Mrs. Justice’s music room in my elementary school days, and from there it blossomed into honking on my trumpet, belting (and working on a pretty awesome falsetto) in my extra long showers, getting shivers each time a movie ticket was ripped in half, and creating character voices for fun. I’ve trained my voice to channel those noises into music. I can appreciate the deafening sound of a train passing eight feet above my head as well as the sounds accompanying silence in the woods. Farts are still funny, burps are rated from 1 to 10, and certain mouth noises will always be gross to me. I worry sometimes that my hearing will fail me and run away, but a part of me is excited to see if I’m up for the challenge.
My body has been broken. Strep throat is my mortal enemy. There was a year when I got strep throat three times. Once, the bastards hit me half way through a white water rafting excursion on a family road trip. I will avoid anyone with strep like they have the plague, but I know I’m strong enough to defeat it again if it ever finds its way back into my system. I’ve broken a toe, cracked the back of my head open on a sidewalk, scraped myself raw innumerable times and generally seem to have an immune system made of tissue paper. Heat doesn’t bother me as much as it does others, but I’ve been burned quite a bit. I’ve spent an entire summer coating myself in creams before bed in the hopes that I would wake up without having scratched myself to bleeding in my sleep. And believe it or not, when I was only 2 I almost died of kidney failure. There are scars from my hospital stay to prove it.
People have always trusted me with their secrets. From preschool to present, I’ve done my share of acting as a human lock box for people’s deep dark parts they won’t share with the light. I don’t always give advice. In fact, I think it’s my ability to simply listen that makes people comfortable confiding in me to begin with. Over the years, I’ve learned that it’s nearly impossible to remain entirely non-judgmental, but there is honor and merit in knowing when to keep those judging thoughts locked away inside. Something about me soothes people, and it’s taken a very long time for me to accept that I don’t need to know exactly what it is to understand that it’s a gift. Being a good listener has made it difficult for me to confide in other people, and even my best friends only know so much. I’m working on that.
I’m a child of a “broken home,” and I couldn’t imagine life any other way. As I child, I understood that my parents were getting divorced because they didn’t love one another anymore, and as an adult I wonder what ever brought them together in the first place. There are arguments I can recall vividly, fights that still sometimes make my heart race. I remember phone calls that neither knew I was awake to hear, and I spent many nights praying as I fell asleep that, even though their love was gone, they would just stop hating one another so damn much. I never once held anything against either of them. The separation gave me an opportunity to really know each of my parents apart from the other, and I am grateful for that every single day.
I’ve traveled around the world, flown across the Atlantic Ocean, sailed on cruise ships filled with drag queens, masturbated in the attic room I had to myself for a night in Ireland, and driven up and down the east coast of the United States in a Prius. I don’t know if my early exposure to travel gave me an anthropological mind or if that mindset was there and that’s why I enjoyed traveling so much as a child, but whichever is the case I’m hooked. Whether it’s a subway ride to China Town or a plane flight to destination unknown, I want to see and learn of the world. This is one of my great passions, and I refuse to let it go.
I was never brought up to believe in anything but myself. No church, no altars, no pentacles or rituals. No organized institution of faith or dogmatic practice. Just a general set of guidelines as to right and wrong and an open door to ask for help in figuring out which was which when lines got blurry. I have practiced psionic energy manipulation which lead me to nature magick which lead me to Wicca. After a few years of study as a Wiccan (and a degree in comparative religions to boot), I stepped back out of religious life and back into a self empowered spiritual life that I feel like my childhood prepared me for.
I have loved more people than I can count, and I don’t believe that the word loses any meaning just because it applies to so many in my life. People get awkward with the word love, so I don’t always say it to everyone for whom it applies. Friendships have run their course. Some have left fond memories and handprints on my heart, and others have left scars. All have helped me to grow. I have been in love three times, and my heart has broken in three distinct ways. While I am honestly a happy person, I feel the most alive when I’m in love.
All this in just a quarter of a century, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I, like all of you out there, am a complicated compilation of experiences, and I don’t imagine life getting any less complicated any time soon. So what am I saying? That I’m already a learned and wizened old man who has no lessons to garner from what time I have left? That I’ve already experienced all I need to experience in this life? Quite the opposite, in fact. This has all begun to feel like preparation for something much larger, more expansive and altogether greater than anything I’ve experienced thus far.
I guess what I’m saying is that in three days, at 12:16 in the morning on January 2nd, I will have been on this earth for 25 years…
…and the training wheels are finally coming off.