Baby Steps

The idea that much of the suffering we endure is of our own making is an idea that I’ve considered before in various fashions. Buddhist thought places a lot of emphasis on these concepts, however, and stresses the liberation of self from the mental shackles we create. Ideas are presumeably what separare us from other creatures, and yet for all of their obvious worth they can be poison as well. When bad ideas are given substance…when they are used to create a definition of this mental construct we call "I" or "self."

I’m a late-bloomer in many ways. It wasn’t until I was 16 that I even suspected I might be gay. Such an interesting word, gay. From a conservative background, the word’s negative connotation is unmistakeable, right down to my physical well-being. To use the word in context with my idea of "self," tension manifests within my torso, carrying up to my throat and constricting it, as if to prevent the release of this naked truth. One that cannot bear to see the light of day, lest others shun and judge me like a leper. Three letters arranged in Latin script, spoken aloud in regards to me cause change due to one of two probably causes. Either it’s coming from my imbalanced mental states, or the word itself somehow taps into a biometaphysical energy triggered by the idea of same-sex union. A word of power; magic, if you will.

So I’ve realized that ‘gay" is a word describing the preference of same-sex union. Clinging to a negative perception of the word due entirely to exposure and upbringing despite clearly seeing the reality and professing to believe otherwise in my heart is a contradition I must shed for my own sake. Despite being born in a diverse, potentially accepting country, having lived in some of the most liberal-minded cities in the world and having true and supporting friends, I’ve had to fly across the globe to peel away the last clinging layers of Christian dogma and come to terms and accept what I am because of my fear of being labeled and characterized by the perceptions I had of the word. Isn’t that sad? Given that many of my Austin friends attended pride parades in their teens, I believe so. Ironic that I was the one blinded by indoctrination, even as I came to denounce most organized religion in my own thinking, and believed myself to be truly open-minded.

There’s so much more I need to write.  Baby Steps, though.

Categories: Uncategorized


  1. I so wish I could ring you on the phone right now. I would love to take some time and discuss this with you. You always have wonderful insights, and for some reason I am especially touched by this one. The impact that words can have depending on the time, place and context. How it affects people. I am perpetually perplexed and intrigued by it. My understanding and perception of what “gay” means has vastly changed over time, and before it was perpetuated by my mom’s church views. Now I belong to a church that embraces diversity and unity in any form imaginable. It’s amazing the transformations that can occur in one’s life…and how words can transform. I am just rambling, but I hope thta makes some kind of sense…

    • That does indeed make sense…Words; ephemeral creations devoid of any real substance, define our reality far more than any of us realize, I think. Our reactions to them also help us realize what’s going on within ourselves.

      “It’s amazing…words can transform.”

      That’s quite the quotable phrase; I may have to steal that from you 😉

  2. *hugs*

    Thank you for sharing this part of your life.

    I’m sorry that you had to fly around the world to help yourself become more comfortable with this aspect of who you are, but very glad you had the opportunity to do so.

    Now we just have to find some cute guy for you!

    KIDDING! Kidding. 🙂 Don’t smack me next time you see me.

    • Heh

      The plane ticket outweighs the smack satisfaction.

      You’d get an e-smack if I could find the appropriate lolcat picture but I don’t have the time to find one so I’ll just wave my hand in the general direction of your LJ and hope that suffices.

  3. This entry is one of the most elegant and beautiful expressions that I have ever read. I can only begin to imagine how difficult this was for you to write. You are a very private person, and I’ve always admired your independence. I’m so proud of you, Earl, and you know that Derek and I will always be here for you if you ever want to talk.

    • Thx

      I’m trying to change that; the privacy bit, that is. I’ve always suspected not opening up in the slightest was a detrimental state to live in, but now I know for a fact it’s impossible to progress spiritually without doing so. Thanks for the kudos and I know I can count on you two as great friends.

      • Re: Thx

        I’d like to say that, at least in my opinion, it’s been apparent that you’ve been trying to be more open, less private. I’m glad you feel the ability to open up a bit more to the world and show the parts of you that nobody really knows.

  4. I get this need to be apart from everything that feels to much like home to really explore yourself in a manner unbiased. So that you don’t feel, constantly, the “what if” pressure of everyone else’s ability to cope with you. Just knowing that there minds might change about you in an instant based on a simple truth is distracting. In so many ways I get why you felt it was time to find a quiet little part of the world, but damn do I miss chilling with you. Enjoy all you can in kiwi land, but know that you’re friends are less likely than even you to cast judgment on any decision you make. Your probably the most human being that any of us have ever met and we all look forward to seeing you again.

    • Awww

      You know exactly how I feel Kammar; one just needs a bit of distance to “experiment” with one’s self and one’s life.

      Aye, very good times we’ve had and will have in the future! Your words do not fall on deaf ears; especially after reading the heartfelt posts of support from you all. Thanks for that Ari.

      • Re: Awww

        I totally hear what you mean there.
        I find I often act much different around people I don’t interact with on a daily basis, because the day to day has a certain “persona” to fill in, while I can play ANY role when I’m not in my normal situation.

        So, which is the “real” you when one does this? Is the persona that you fall into after a routine the real you, or is it the more liberated individual who does what they feel? Is it both? Neither? Somewhere in-between?

        I’d write more, but there’s more traffic around the office now.


  5. I’ve been struggling with what to say to you. As you know, it is my natural inclination in the midst of deep revelation to make some sort of joke. I guess that it is an effort help conceal behind humor those who might otherwise feel too exposed. But I just couldn’t bring myself to joke this time. (Take a moment to admire my restraint–I assure you, I had some good ones!) The simple eloquence of your naked vulnerability, and your newfound willingness to allow it, has a power all it’s own. You need no covering up, and I admire you more for that than words or jokes could ever express.

    • ;~)

      Thanks for your words and support Jackie; it’s amazing I truly thought I would recieve anything less.

      Re. jokes: I am quite suprised you’re holding back in honor of my openness. Still, I imagine you writing down a list of jokes to present to me when I return to Buffalo. Perhaps in the form of origami…

      • Re: ;~)

        LOL, I forgot about the origami before you left! Do you still have any of it? I don’t even remember what I wrote, but I remember feeling terribly amused about it at the time.

        Re: Re: Jokes. Here’s a list of my better ones, in no particular order:

        My grandma will be so disappointed.
        You’re gay? Whatever you do, don’t tell Josh!
        So is that why you spent so much time wrestling with sweaty guys?
        You like men? Ew!! WHY?
        Are tall people even allowed to be gay?
        So…top or bottom?

      • Re: ;~)

        Omg, lol. And this is why I hate you so much, unfailing ability to crack inside jokes that should have come to so many of us in a way that leaves me gasping for air when the spasms in my diaphragm finally cease. This makes it difficult to maintain the slow burning rage I’m tyrin to present over you woman. I must insist that you desist from publicly stating anything else I will find amusing. That will be all.

      • Re: ;~)

        Are tall people even allowed to be gay?

        Now that got a real belly-laugh out of me.

      • Re: ;~)

        Naturally, I eventually expected the dam to burst sooner or later. Sooner, frankly. Five days; I’m impressed Jackie ;~)

        Re. the origami, I saved one…I can’t tell you which until I get back though.

      • Re: ;~)

        I’m pretty impressed with myself, too. So–which one got the biggest laugh out of you?

        I think I have a clue which origami it is 😉

  6. Hey

    Hey, this is Mikhail. I’m not entirely sure what to say, as the idea is circling its way around my memories of you, looking for some clues I should feel guilty about overlooking.

    Persecution, I find, is something understood and remembered, even by children whose adolescence wanes. People, even if you have known them for a long time, can start to treat you different and pretend it is a positive kind of offense-preventing caution. Its a cover for their own miss-givings, whether conscious or unconscious. And I can understand why you wouldn’t share. The people I work with, I could trust to loan them the majority of the money I have, and know I’d get it back… but after seeing their false-cautionary responses to a different Jewish co-worker.. nobody in the company will ever know I’m an ethnic Jew, I dont want to be treated like that… to be handled with caution.

    I thought about how to say things true to my feelings regarding all you have shared, show support, give strength, and the like… and I think it would all be pointless. I have no desire to look or treat you different than before. I feel no desire to re-examine one iota of what I’ve come to believe about you. You’re still the same Earl I hung out with in HS constantly, you’re still the same earl I played racquetball with every week at UB.

    I just want you to know that all I’m offering is what I wish those “diversity supporting” self-deluded people could give… Neutrality.

    What I’m feeling right now, is an internal happiness.. a “pink concentration of light” as Josh would put it, for you, in that you are setting yourself free, breaking mental subject-object barriers, dissolving the power of words over you, and becoming true to yourself. In fact, I’m envious.

    I just want you to know that this… all this… changes nothing, and I will see you in August in NZ buddy.

    ps: Oh just wait till Josh finds out, someone better have a camera.

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