Sunday, March 19, 2017

Building Walls?

At the risk of erroneously lumping topics into one of interest. I have mentioned over the past week or so of being found by an accepting old friend. Obviously, all of that was good until I covered the subject again of not going to my 50th high school class reunion this year. My feelings have always been if they (classmates) didn't particularly want to see me then-why now? And, their are damn few I still want to see, let alone be some sort of center of attraction. For the wrong reasons.

As far as building walls, Connie wrote: "I understand the idea of distancing, and taking advantage of making a clean break. I had to move to another city just at the end of my junior year in high school. My plan was to not only leave everything and everybody behind, but also to be careful not to develop any close relationships in my new environment. It was my one and only purge, as I had also decided to break off with myself - insofar as my gender identity was concerned. 

Although my suppression of self lasted for seventeen years, my vow to avoid close relationships ended only four months later, on September 23, 1968 (I can still remember the exact place and situation, too), the day I met the girl to whom I would later be married. As it relates to my internal battle of suppression, it was the power of testosterone and social convention over my female brain to which I caved. Also, I just wanted to be loved by someone, and I could not see that happening had I been whatever I was trying so hard not to be.

I sometimes wonder where I'd be had I stuck with my original plan, but as badly as I've messed up lives of those I love over the past three decades, at least there is still some kind of love that has survived. As for the rest of the people from my past, the ones I managed to keep a safe distance from, I really don't care too much who they might think me to be today. For them, and with them, there was little investment in the first place."

Thanks again Connie for your insight!

1 comment:

  1. IF I were to attend a 50th reunion (two years away for mine), I would choose to go to the one for the school I did not graduate from - the one where I had grown up with so many people. I did a pretty good job of not establishing relationships, other than with my wife, after moving to Seattle. Even though I had gained some notoriety on the football field, I played a position that was not so glamorous. My ending up at the bottom of a pile of humanity at the end of each play did little to endear myself to the humanity of my classmates in the stands - or in the halls the following Monday. Actually, the same was true at my old school; I planned it that way. I was trying to fly under the radar, and football was mostly a decoy. I have to laugh each time I think about it, as the kid who was the quarterback, and the best athlete in the school, I have always suspected to be gay. We were, by no means, close friends, but I could sense that he was keeping a well-guarded secret, just as I was. If there were only one person with whom I might have a reunion, it would be him. Our miseries would make great company.

    A center of attraction? I admit to having that desire - at least my musical self does. I started my musical "career" behind a drum set (which is usually set up behind the rest of the band). Playing the drums was yet another decoy. My "hamming it up", though, eventually moved me to center stage. Over the years, I have often imagined myself stepping onto the stage with the band at a reunion. I could express myself there so much better than in any other way, and the edge of the stage is sort of a force field - one for which I have control. Standing above a crowd of vaguely familiar and aging faces - the men fat and bald, and they women wrinkled and gray - singing from my heart and soul, seems quite a satisfactory prospect.

    None of this will happen. Why should I care that people see who the awkward, enigmatic, and somewhat withdrawn boy turned out to really be? Who I am now is of little note to anyone but myself, and any accolades for my "courage" to be myself now are unwanted. My courage was demonstrated by what I did to hide myself those many years ago, but I certainly don't need to reminisce on that. Besides, nobody hires bands for reunions anymore; just DJs. People are more interested in those things recorded long ago than what is live - and alive - in the present.


A Life in Gender Flux