Monday, December 12, 2011
Old flame still warming
It's getting close to forty year ago today when I first knew what it was like to make love. As always, I am grateful that my first experience was with someone I cared about and who cared about me. It was not only about physical passion but about friendship. That first experience was one of such rightness that it had the force of a transformative revelation. It has made a huge difference for me. I truly was never the same again.
But it came after years of inner confusion and then, when the homo-sexual shape of my eros became clear to me --in Rome, ironically :) --, of panic and fear. Life in the closet: dark, lonely and confined. So I would not deny that, on a subconscious level, I have likely absorbed some of the condemnation of same-sexuality from my culture and religion. After I had that wonderful experience of what I was so afraid of, on a waking level such self-doubt is blessedly hard to find. I have excellent reasons to accuse myself of faults and failings and sins, but I cannot get myself to believe that loving other men is one of them.
Although this blog gives frequent voice to my dissatisfaction at what gay culture and its pre-packaged identity has turned out to be, I should say very clearly and thankfully that were it not for the defiant refusal of contemporary homosexuals to accept the ancient curse, to let me know that I was not the only one and that I was not profoundly damaged and wrong, I would very likely be carrying inside me still that life-distorting weight of corrosive fear and self-hatred.
If I have also had experiences of pain and grief, wrongness and regret in my connections with other men --and I have, as readers of this blog may remember-- they seem to be really no different from "the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to" when it comes to Eros, regardless of what sex your partner is. My sexual mistakes and sins come not because I am a male with males, but because I am a human with humans.
When I later read Michael Tolliver's letter to his family and he declared that recognizing and accepting himself "brought me into the family of man", I knew exactly what he meant.
at 12:05 PM