Well hello there.
I was recently doing some journaling and after a while I stared at the pages I had written and realized that the real reason I started this blog oh, so long ago was to share (true) stories like this one. If you’re someone who’s read this blog in the past, I’m still here! If not, welcome. Here’s my story.
Cold, snowy days like this one lend themselves to self-reflection. I spent some time cleaning my room this morning, which is really just an excuse to pace around listening to music without being questioned. It’s good to do that every once in a while, to block out everything else and sort things out in your head––or pull them out of place, throw them around, and challenge them. It depends on the mood.
I’ve been doing that quite a bit lately, much more than usual. I’m not sure if it’s because I have more time or more things in my head, or whether i should be scared by the possibility that I’m starting to make time for it.
It’s usually late at night, but it’s not always exactly the same. Honestly, it depends largely on what kind of music I’m listening to. Sometimes it’s nostalgic alternative rock with hints of musical soundtrack and jazz (on rare occasions), and others it’s trashy pop and four-on-the-floor dance music. The variety of genres take me to different places, indulge different fantasies, replay different memories. It’s almost as if the music is what enables me to collect data for some sort of giant dissertation on myself––past, present, future, and outlandish alternate timelines.
Part of why I treasure this time is because it’s time for me to be a raw, unfiltered version of myself––or, rather, of myself on the “other side.”
Here’s what I mean: When I’m getting down late at night to songs I;d never publicly admit to loving, I can be anything. I truly believe I can be anything even when people are watching, but I express the hyper-ambitious, studious, and sometimes fearful part of myself (the part of me known to be able to “do anything”) enough publicly that sometimes it gets boring. When I’m wide awake at 12:30 AM, strutting around my room in running tights and a T-shirt, I can be everything else: a fighter, an explorer, a slut.
Sometimes, when these parts of me shine through (for no one but myself to see, of course) I feel more authentic than ever, as if that person is me. But that’s not wholly true. My more sensitive self, the one who would prompt me to record my feelings as I am doing now, almost always gets the last laugh. Because of this self, I can’t allow those trashy beats I love so much to grace my ears as I do this; this is too important to me.
Is that to say that the weightless feelings I get when I block out the world aren’t legitimate? The tragedy (maybe) is that I refuse to say so. If I knew someone like the self that only comes out at night I might pity him, but as a part of myself I love him. He may not value outward appearance, others’ opinions and feelings, or social norms as much as more “respectable” people, but deep down he is as much “me” as the more demure, bookworm-ish boy that others see. Both are just trying to figure the world out.
The dominant self explores the workings of the world and himself through writing; the other through speech, movement, and thought (or lack thereof). I think that’s always been why I write, even though I wasn’t fully aware of it as a child. There was so much I didn’t know, but I like to theorize. There were things I did know, only some of which I shared––some not even privately with myself on paper.
As I grew older and the dominant self grew more uncomfortable and awkward, learning through experience things one can’t just realize by reading a book or reflecting really hard. He became aware of the other self and the intimate connection he had with him. The pages of journals were too precious to the dominant self to be tainted by the mention of anything having to do with the other self, though. He silenced him, and with him, a part of himself.
It took tremendous strength and a liberal mindset for me (that is, the union of the two selves) to realize a few things: First, that I am unquestionably and incurably homosexual. Second, that that’s totally okay. Third, that I reject all things in my past that ever told me otherwise, which, unfortunately, are some of the same things that shaped my dominant self. Fourth, that I must never close my mind to anything. I almost wrote that I must never hate, but I’m still working on that one. It’s difficult not to hate those that tear you down, or those that simply block out everything outside their parochial field of vision.
I’m trying instead to feel for these people, as I get the whole “blocking-out-everything” thing. But I can’t stop there. I need to talk with them, engage them, try to open them up to everything the world can be. But I musn’t force them; I would hate anyone who took my journey of self-discovery away from me. (I guess that’s where the whole “no hate” resolution ends.)
This journey, the battle between my superego and id, has been the most enriching conversation I’ve ever experienced. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Sometimes I would worry that my inner struggles were signs that I was “broken,” as if society had permanently molded me into something I was not––and I would never break free. Now I know that, though I wasn’t always this comfortable with myself, I am nothing but me (the real me). I, the combined self I’m continually growing into, is the center of the two selves I love so much. The difference between myself and others, or myself and a version of myself born into different circumstances, is the distance between the poles of my opposite selves. At least, that’s what I’d like to believe. I’m an idealist.
The internal conversations I’ve known as constants for so long have given me a profound appreciation for communication. I am a storyteller. And now, I can write about my own, totally comfortable with myself and confident in my abilities. I attribute much of that to being gay. Having to go through such emotional, romantic, and social struggles forced me to look at myself as different from the norm, giving me a much richer understanding of what the norms are. I worked with them, took them apart and tried to use them to compartmentalize myself just like society taught me. While I might now argue that I never had to, I’m so glad I had the experience; it’s helped make me who I am.
I guess that’s how I justify dancing around my room at night to top-40 hits. I’m just doing what makes me happy, and I will continue to do so.
Happy 2013, y’all.