In Spite of What I Do by Nathan Blackwater

     When I was younger, like high school, I thought that wanting to be loved was for losers. When we wrote the first part of our Journey Youth creed I objected to the last phrase.

     “I believe in the Great Spirit, the creator of all living people; of that which flies or crawls or swims; of all growing things, and of all that makes up the earth and the seas. I believe in the one who is beyond me yet continues to cherish me in spite of what I do.

     As I talked to the mother of my friend who killed himself, I realized that I do want to be loved, cherished, liked, accepted or whatever. And so did he. Because guys don’t express such intimate thoughts to themselves much less to someone else, I wonder if I had spoken up to how much I valued his friendship that he would still be alive.

     Yeah, I know that it is not my fault that he died but his death reminds me that we all need to have put into words that others accept us for who we are. I guess in those of us who have been tough guys on the street, lying to police and covering up for our buddies is our way of saying “we’ve got your backs.” But at some time in our journey, like for me, I want to be told directly that I, as I am, am loved and cherished for who I am. Not in those words because they are sort of dopy but somehow.

     If I had just given him a man hug when I last saw him or hit him in the shoulder, I would feel better.

     Maybe I just have to suffer through that I miss him.

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