I thought it had been a lot longer since I last wrote anything here. I was surprised to find it was only early January. The times I’ve sat down to write and then closed the page without writing anything. It’s like wanting to approach something and then shying away from it when I get too close.
The meaning of life I’ve been looking for has been becoming more apparent lately but also becomes more elusive the closer I get to it. I can only liken it to chasing a kite that has caught the wind and I’m running after it, grasping at the tail.
The revelations of finding family and finding a sense of belonging have started to cement some of my identity for me. I feel like I know who I am and where I came from more than I ever did before. But there are still unanswered questions that I think only I can answer now.
Trawling the internet today I came across the blog of Alistair Appleton; a TV presenter, Buddhist and therapist.
This page in particular struck a chord with me http://alistairappleton.com/blog/?p=609 and I would like to quote excerpts from it. It describes in a way that I would find difficult to put into words what I identify with almost absolutely:
“For me, aged 6, I made a decision to deal with the singular fact of my sexuality. Knowing that I was gay and my desire was contrary to everyone else around me, I made a decision that I would have to survive in the world on my own ….. always alone, always under threat, and only the most extreme fearful self-consciousness will protect him …… that paranoid thought (”It’s me, alone, against the world, for ever”) ran like a scarlet thread through my entire life, colouring every stage of my teenage, adult years. Obviously, at some point, I let go of it as a literal belief but – because it remained unconscious and unquestioned – that sense of fear and distrust and that extreme, paralysing self-consciousness became the fundamental building block of my personality. It totally pre-programmed my relationships to failure, of course”
I couldn’t have said this before I read it but I knew instantly that it was me!
Sometime way back when, I decided I was on my own in the world. I think fear of being found out and anger – that those closest to me couldn’t see the fear – were mixed up in the decision. I distanced myself from my parents and it adversely affected every other relationship I’ve ever had.
Growing up in the 50’s and 60’s, when homosexuality was not only a taboo subject but also illegal meant I was outside the scope of what I saw as ‘normal’ life. ‘Normal’ being the illusion created by me, and for me, by everyday input and perception.
I had thought I’d come to terms with my sexuality completely. I’ve been quite open about it for years and all my friends and the people who matter to me know about it. They also know it’s never been the defining part of my personality. I’ve always said it’s as much a part of me as having brown hair and hazel eyes and being level-headed and understanding.
I’ve never been a part of the ‘gay’ scene and still don’t want to be. There isn’t a ‘straight’ scene and I don’t see why I should scream to the world that I’m gay when there is no need for the rest of the world to scream they are straight.
It’s only one aspect of me as a whole person but that aspect has kept me lonely and apart from a closeness I crave. It even surprises me sometimes that I have friends who’ve been around for over 20 years! It’s also a very comforting thought in contrast to other relationships that haven’t lasted. But then I can keep my friends at bay to some extent. The question is, ‘Do I need to?’
Friendships have often been like being on a piece of elastic for me. I get close and draw back, get close and draw back. I can keep my friends at a distance that a life-partnership can’t be kept at. The solidity of a life-partner is something I’m not used to and have always been guarded against. It’s a bit like being as close to my parents in a way I couldn’t be when I was much younger.
And now I’m running out of steam and need to finish for now. I’ve touched the nerve I never thought I’d touch and it’s a bit raw.
Time now for contemplation ………….
Sniffy said: “There isn’t a ‘straight’ scene and I don’t see why I should scream to the world that I’m gay when there is no need for the rest of the world to scream they are straight.”
There is a straight scene – it’s the pub, the church, the football terraces, the classroom, the office, the government, the cinema, the supermarket, the bookshop, the TV, the street, … – it’s everywhere all around you but it’s so utterly pervasive that you don’t see it. And the rest of the world certainly screams out that they are straight – the army does, adverts do, sport does, films do, children’s books do, magazines do, the church does and on and on. When was the last time you saw an advert at the cinema or on TV or in a magazine that showed a loving, laughing, kissing, carefree same sex couple rather than a boyfriend/girlfriend, or man & wife or family? Yesterday, last week, last month, last year?
Except that all those years ago, when you thought that you might be “found out”, it was then you realised that there was indeed a straight scene and that you weren’t part of it.
And what would it mean to you to “scream to the world that I’m gay”?