Saturday, February 26th, 2011

Just typing in the dark, trying to focus on something.   Story of my life.

Analogously, the text I am typing in my browser is light gray on a white background.   The system colors on my laptop are not set up right.   My words appear as whispers in a blizzard.   So, my life.  

Changes allow the possibility of something new.   Tonight, I am uncharacteristically not isolating alone in my house.   A friend asked me last week to accompany him to his house in Maine this weekend.   I have been up here one other time.   He has asked me about a dozen times.   I wanted to say no last week, like the other eleven times.   But this time I said yes.  

I never use my laptop.   At home, it sits on an old disconnected radiator by the door, and acts as a file server.   Sort of.   In a life consisting of blizzard-buried whispers, everything is ‘sort of’, nothing is clear, emphatic, or decisive.   So all of my computers at home sit mostly idle, occupying a DHCP assignment, waiting for… nothing.  

I brought my laptop to Maine, mostly for the novelty of tethering with my new-again Nokia N900; my original N900 stopped having a cellular connection, and for a cell phone, that is fairly essential.   So Nokia generously sent me a new one about two weeks ago, and I wanted to play with it’s tethering capabilities in the wilds downeast.   Also, I was trying to bring some of the isolation with me, a kind of scutum to protect me from all the hazards of socialization (and even though my friend is at least as isolative as me—he is an other—a breach in my life of isolation.)

It’s almost gone, my life.   That’s not being morbid, just telling the truth.   A friend of ours died recently.   He was 51.   Changes may be in order about now.  

At Colin’s funeral we met a host of our friends from our youth.   A real reunion.   Colin would have been proud.   I felt guilty for having such a really good time at a funeral.   But everybody did.   Colin was pleased, I am sure.   I very nearly did not go to his funeral. Just like I very nearly did not come to Maine Friday.   Just like I almost continued writing nothing for yet another thousand days.  

I saw many significants from my formative years.   Some were former lovers.   Some I tried valiantly to make into lovers and failed.   Others just loved me.  

Bill was my best friend growing up.   I just didn’t know it at the time.   Or I did know it, and used other methods (similar to the current laptop-technique) to shield myself from the risks of true intimacy.   Bill is a cop in the town where we grew up.   He is, like, a top cop; he outranks everybody but the Chief.   He should be Chief but he probably doesn’t want it.   Or maybe they do not want him; he has great integrity.   Sometimes integrity is not an asset.  

He was appropriately in uniform, as Colin was a former police officer.   And he was as self-possessed as always, though a little more direct now than when we were first learning how to handle the risks of friendship—he was always taking risks, and I was always avoiding them.  

Bill was one of the ‘others’; a significant from whom I never sought sex, who also never sought me to be anything but his friend.   There were not many like that for me.   In our late teens, Bill was one of a very few males I didn’t target for sex.  

Sex often works as a shield, effectively repelling intimacy in a deft sidestep that bypasses emotional contact in favor of genital games.   It almost always works.   And Bill was certainly not unattractive when I was 17, but it was clear to me then that he would not fall for that old trick.   All I could do to defend myself against his sincere friendship was to pretend I didn’t know how genuine his love for me was.  

I preferred the shallow boys.   I still do.  

I held court at Colin’s funeral, enjoying the attention of those whose attention I had judiciously avoided for thirty years.   (In reality they were simply saying hello, but I prefer my reality grandiose.)   They hadn’t seen me in ages, and probably didn’t expect me to show up.   They were just happy to see me.  

I had always kept the fact that I was gay a secret.   Or so I thought.   But ‘coming out’ is not the equivalent of merely acknowledging that you prefer the same sex, like admitting guilt when the evidence has become overwhelming.   Coming out is, like most truths, a bit of a non-sequitur.   It largely involves going in.   In, toward one’s own heart and soul where dwells your essence, behind the persona and beneath the facades, and there to embrace—without pity, condescension or reservation—your true self, in the acknowledgement that that embrace affirms everything about you, no matter what anyone, even you, might think.   Real coming out transcends intellectual justification.   It cannot be wrong, it can only be right.   No matter who you are, or what you have done, or what you might be likely to do.  

I’m not sure I have ever really ‘come out’.   At least, not like that.  

At one point at Colin’s funeral, having a conversation with a few old friends including Bill, I mused that they had all known forever that I was gay, long before I dared acknowledge it to anyone.   And without a second’s hesitation, Bill exclaimed, “I know!   And we loved you anyway!”  

Damn.   Bill understood me better when I was 17 than I had any right to hope.   Hell, he understood at 17 things which I am only discovering today, as a result of writing this blog post, right now.   That is probably what scared me then.   It still scares me.   It is called love, a pure and honest love that seeks nothing.   Not the love that includes sex, nor the love that accompanies obligation.   It is the love that comes from an unlimited source, generously, and for no reason other than it is seeks to be given.  

The truth is, the more we want to be loved, or the more desperate our need for love, then the more fervent becomes our hope for something less.   We fear risking the disappointment that love isn’t real, or is far less than we need.   We fear discovering that we have been right about everything, right that we are unlovable, right that we are alone, and right that there is no one for us, ever.   So we hedge our bets and hope for something reasonable—even though ‘reasonable’ cannot ever be enough.  

And it appears I may be only now starting to outgrow that childish fear.  

The truth is, we have been wrong about everything.   Love is real.   It indeed exists for us.   It is everything we need, which is not only everything we ever thought we needed, but infinitely more as well.   There always has been someone for us, and best of all, there always will be someone for us; specifically someone for me, and specifically someone for you.   We just have to get our heads out of our asses so we can see who the hell it is.    

It is all so incredibly unlikely that, even though I have just stated the facts, we may yet manage to ignore the truth, we may deny it, and we still might very possibly run away from it.  

But I think I may be lucky, nonetheless.   Because, as I have just learned, changes allow for the possibility of something completely and entirely new.  

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