Sunday, December 22, 2013

The particularity of time

Even though the coming of winter in a place like San Francisco is more like a brisk fall, with flowers, the chilling of the air and the increasing darkness is fundamental to my sense of Christmas.

Sentimental I can occasionally be and Christmas brings it out. Thick with memory. This is the image I use as my screensaver these days:

It's an emotional memory rather than a physical recollection. The contrasts are essential: warmth and light in a world that's dark and cold. And the silence that comes with snow, but for the crunch under your feet. Firewood burning. And the steely glow of stars in a winter sky. Music, cooking smells, a sense of safety. The stopping of the world so that eternity and time can intersect.


Anonymous said...

The recent flap over GLAAD coercing A&E to dismiss Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty has inflamed my family's already poor opinion of homosexuals into full-fledged animosity. Homosexuals are now, without exception, enemies in my family's eyes, psychopaths and narcissists without an ounce of happiness in their lives.

What about me? If I came out, would I be filed into that category of insane mortal enemy? Several family members have expressed the sentiment, "I don't care what gays do, I just don't want them around me." How could I ever change their minds?

Well, that's that. I'll be moving across the country and writing a letter to my family, preemptively severing all ties with them. If they don't want me around, I won't give them a problem.

I didn't choose this. If there was a choice, I would have chosen what would please my family. Why would I choose this pain? Why does this hurt so much? What's the point?


Anonymous said...

For the first time in my life, I think I understand the genesis of the "gay-bashing gay" character. He is the man who rejects the implicit demand to change himself for the sake of the collective, and expresses his rejection violently. He is the young man who fears that he will never be loved by his family because they will lump him in with the narcissistic queen before his very eyes, and so he decides to take his revenge on a living simulacrum of the archetype that he seeks to flee from.

It feels like I am trapped between two factions in an escalating conflict. GLAAD has drawn battle lines that not even a dunce can ignore, and I can't see how conservatives can tolerate gays in their own ranks, for fear that they are agents of the enemy. Both sides say that they are willing to accept me into their ranks, but only if I reject or hide that part of me that corresponds to the other side. Which side do I choose? Or do I denounce both sides and ride off into the sunset by myself?


OreamnosAmericanus said...

I'm sorry for the tough place you find yourself in, Sean. Especially with your family.

When you do come out to them, no matter how and when you do it, may I suggest that you do not pre-emptively sever all ties with them?

Leave their response up to them. Leave a door open for them. If they do what you fear, then so be it. Even their first response may not be their last response. But give them a chance to work through their shock. At some point, maybe sooner than you think, they might reach out. My rapprochement with my parents took years, but it was completely worth it.

People have all sorts of opinions about alient groups. It's natural. But when it comes to family, or even friends, a whole other geography comes into play. True, they might reject you. That happens. But they might not.

When faced with the shock of hearing from his son that he was gay, my lifelong conservative Republican Catholic father said, I don't understand and I don't agree. But you're my son. That does not change.

And as you may know, the primary factor in changing people's attitude toward homosexuality is knowing someone they love is gay.

It's awful, I know. Like a dagger in the heart to hear these things from them. But when they realize that it's you, their Sean, not some nameless cartoon, things might be different. If not quickly, then maybe later.

And family cannot be replaced.

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