Sunday, October 24, 2010

Self-Absorbed or Self-Protective?

I’ve been accused of being self-absorbed. I cannot deny that. But nothing happens in vacuum—I’m self-absorbed for a reason.

I was a very intelligent and unathletic child raised in a town full of average, sports-minded boys. On top of that I was gay, and raised in fundamentalist church. Subconsciously I absorbed the lesson that I was at war with the world.

In adulthood I learned that of course I am not important enough to be the object of the world’s persecution. Paranoia is perverse egotism. But I’m wise enough to know that this world is harsh on individualism, and really harsh on those who fit in least.

To forgive the world and ‘lay down my arms’ would be best for me, for my mental and physical health. (Forgiveness on my part will make no difference to the world.) But every week I get some new, fresh reminder just how opposed to me the world is (as in last week’s DADT drama from our current executive administration). To forgive and to lay down my arms could possibly open me up to more relationships, more friendships and possibly even a long-lasting relationship. To forgive and to lay down my arms could save my brain, my stomach and my heart, literally.

Today I saw a man not much older than me walking down the sidewalk. He gave me this look that hurt me to see. It wasn’t a leer. It was desire mixed with sadness and loneliness. It was pathos. I felt bad for him; I felt fear for myself. I don’t want to be like him. I want a relationship with another man, and my body is still sufficiently youthful to lust. But I don’t want ever to have that look of sadness, loneliness and desire to play across my face.

The likelihood is that I will never have another long-term relationship. With each passing month, the likelihood grows less and less. I could give into the feelings of sadness, loneliness and frustrated desire. Or I can choose to celebrate my uniqueness in my solitude.

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