In my journey thus far, I have determined that people simply do not appreciate the Truth. Oh, I get it. It is difficult when someone like me approaches you and tells you about the spinach between your teeth while your ‘real’ friends have allowed you to smile away for hours.
But hey, it helps us both. You do not look silly, and I have helped you. Why wouldn’t your friends tell you? My guess is that they are afraid of how you will react (look inward) or don’t care (look outward). Either way, I can’t see how anyone would rather have associates that fuel or maintain a destructive illusion, and no, I don’t mean spinach.
A young man came into my life as of late, and man, he is angry. He yelled at me, called me names, insulted me and in general, hated on me, all for calling him on his hypocrisy.
Hey, I ain’t mad. As a matter of fact the whole thing made me very sad. For a variety of reasons. Firstly, and gut-wrenchingly, his pain is my pain. I did not take the Vow, to be selective as to what I feel. I must feel it all, and attempt to heal it. Else why the awareness?
But this young man’s pain struck me as particularly personal.
One of my best friends growing up was cursed with the misfortune of being born gay into a very close minded family in the heart of the notoriously bigoted South. At least so it seemed unfortunate to him as he was raised to wrongly believe that homosexuality was an abomination and something to be cruelly and ignorantly mocked. Unbeknown to his family, every time they told a homo joke it was like a dagger in his side. Et tu?
To say they didn’t know any better, well, I shan’t argue for nor against that. It was certain they had no idea how crushing their bigotry was to one so close to them. Would they have behaved differently? Not told faggot jokes? Not held their pinkies up while mocking gays? Would they have been supportive and loving, if they’d known?
No one can say for sure.
What happened is that my best friend did everything he could to blend in. He was a straight A student. Captain of the Football Team. Band, Homecoming Court (4 years in a row), Tennis Team, Student Council. He did it all. He did everything he could to fit in. All while fostering a self loathing and hatred for his growing need to accept himself. All the feats and accomplishments could not fill the void of living a lie.
To be honest, I knew he was gay as long as I knew him (my whole life), and it never bothered me. In fact, it made me a more sensitive person, just by being near him and I made every attempt to make him feel loved. It is never enough.
Things, circumstances, life changes us.
My friend, in an attempt to find himself, may have taken chances that I believe a non self loathing person would not have and before we knew it, he was taken from me at the young age of thirty-three.
I have never been so angry in my life. What? Why? I cursed a god I did not even believe in. I begged a god I doubted existed to please make this not so.
I was angry at his family. At society. At Texas, which I love, but feel certain the pervading prejudices played a major role in the loss of my friend. I was just so angry at the idea that IF my friend had been taught to love himself, accepted for who he was, that he might still be here.
The worst anger was at myself. Had I done enough to prevent this? Granted I was younger than my friend and I know I did what I could for someone my age, but I felt like a failure. A failure without one of the best friends I ever had, gone, forever.
In a tragedy of this proportion, it is easy to get down and lose track of all the possibilities that may spring from such an episodic era of life. My friend’s family has become infinitely more open and accepting. They have all but ended the jokes, at least in my presence, and they grew immensely from this opportunity. That was his gift to them. I cannot help but think that is why my friend was sent to us. It is comforting to some degree, not personally, but universally.
I still revel in the argument that it was NOT fair that I should have to lose a friend, because THEY needed to learn the lesson of impermanence and opportunity.
But that was THEIR lesson, not mine. My lesson here is to do what I can for anyone in similar straits, to find the Truth and live it. I cannot stand idly by and witness self loathing. It is not pretty. Some people have built up their walls impenetrably. They fight the Truth with anger, insults, and they DO NOT like being called on their self loathing hypocrisy.
The Truth scares them more than living in a cabinet their whole lives.
Even if these people do not meet the same untimely departure as my friend, they may as well be dead, living this lie. It is detrimental to the soul, psyche, physical body.
I don’t mind that people get mad at me for telling them the Truth they run from on a daily basis.
But I cannot live wondering if I did enough to help someone feel comfortable and worthy in the body they were born in.
We do not get to choose our skin color, orientation, family or genes, but it is our choice what do to with the circumstances we got.
I miss my friend, and I would never wish anyone to feel the anger, hurt and sorrow that I have in this arena.
We are one.