normalcy and blue

I think the biggest difference between me and the majority of my peers as a teenager, middle-school era, is that I never wanted to be normal.

Not to say that this was a conscious choice. As the refrain goes, I didn't wake up one morning and decide I wanted to be a freak. Not that I particularly enjoyed being made fun of for being a "nerd." Or being socially rejected because I didn't dress or style myself like everyone else. Or, you know, melting my brain trying to figure out the whole queer angle.

But in the end, I valued my differences, the qualities that make me "weird," more than I valued ease of acceptance. I loved intellectual pursuits and comfortable clothes, and ultimately, my sexuality, more than I would have liked "fitting in."

I notice this same quality among my friends. The people I'm attracted to (platonically and not) radiate a strong sense of themselves. They all have their passions and interests and quirks that come together to make them distinctive. I have the kind of friends that aren't hard to pick out of crowds. (Unless it's the Harry Potter book-release party, in which case I just try to keep an eye on the tall friends.)

The idea of "ex-gay programs," in that line of thought, gives me the chills. On a very basic level, I'm not sure I really understand what would drive someone to want to change her self. On the other hand, I do remember regarding myself as a 'straight girl with a nameless problem.' Had I been offered the chance to erase this seeming intruder into my thought life, I might have taken it. Problem with that, though, is that it would have required me to name it before I could get rid of it.

I remember when I finally did figure it out. Flicking through testimonies on Whosoever, attempting to formulate some sort of socially responsible opinion on this Gay Issue I kept hearing about, and finding myself in them instead. Especially that oft-mentioned sense of "being different." Putting words to this underlying dissonance and feeling the puzzle pieces click into place.

Also freaking out because "HOLY SHIT, my parents are NOT going to like this if they ever find out."

There's a test question with no right answer that gay people sometimes are asked. "If there was a pill to make you straight, would you take it?" There are plenty of gay folk who say they would leap on the chance because who would choose, after all, to make their lives as difficult as being gay makes life?

I might have answered this way, once, when I thought that my sexuality was an incidental part of who I was. There is some truth to that. I am not wholly defined by the fact that I prefer women to men. On the other hand, I don't think I can be who I am apart from that fact, either. Sexuality is not some discrete part of brain function that can be subtracted or substituted without affecting other parts, like a car engine with interchangeable parts. It works to me a bit more like paint mixing, where the presence or absence of a given hue can radically alter the picture.

Asking what I would be like without my gayness is like asking what the world would be like if blue didn't exist.

I like blue. I would be without a favorite color if blue were nonexistent. I might be able to get along with red, maybe, in the absence of an alternative, but since blue does in fact exist, why bother?

...I am fully aware of the fact that since it's about three-thirty in the morning it's entirely possible that the preceding post makes little sense to anyone but me. Oh well.


thus saith Liadan at 2:54 AM


Blogger E saith at 5/16/2006 1:30 PM...  

The idea of "ex-gay programs," in that line of thought, gives me the chills. On a very basic level, I'm not sure I really understand what would drive someone to want to change her self.

For my part, at least, it was a lifetime of indoctrination, of being taught that:
1) God disapproved of my even having those feelings,
2) Those feelings were nothing more than a (curable) psychological aberration, and
3) Being gay was purely about lust and rampant self-indulgence, and therefore 'healthy same-sex relationships' was an oxymoron.

There are ex-gays who recognize that those three statements are lies and who choose that path for healthier reasons, but they're in the minority. For my part, even if I were to commit myself to lifelong celibacy I could never go back to pretending that I'm a heterosexual with a 'struggle.'

Blogger Elizabeth saith at 5/17/2006 12:05 AM...  

I don't think I'd take the straight pill cuz it just...I would be changing something about me and i'm too stubburn for that kind of stuff. *grins* Your entry rocked.

Blogger Brucker saith at 5/18/2006 3:09 PM...  

Maybe it's a change in the way you define yourself as you continue to mature and are more open, both with yourself and others, about your own sexuality, but there seems to be a paradox here. (I want to be clear that a "paradox" is not a "contradiction", but rather two fact that don't seem to fit together.)

I swear that at some point in the past, perhaps even in this blog, you had said something like, "Homosexuality is not a choice; why in Hell would I choose to be somebody that society in general and my family in particular can't accept?" Yet as you pose the question to yourself, if you were given the choice to change, you almost certainly would not.

Being some of the most persecuted people in history, I probably would not have chosen to be Jewish. Yet, having come from a Jewish family, no matter how screwed up the Jewish part of my family is, no matter how many times I've had to bear anti-Semitism in a personal manner, no matter how much I've had conflicts in my life over whether it was right for me to convert to Christianity, it's still an intrinsic part of me in a way that I can't imagine somehow magically separating from myself.

Of course, that's just one aspect of me among many, such as also having been of the "nerdy" persuasion as a child. There are so many things that one may want to change in life, or have simply somehow different in a manner that can't be really expressed, what does it all mean, I wonder?

I think perhaps in a philisophical discussion of sexual orientation, asking questions like "Is our sexual orientation a choice?" or "If there was a pill...?" aren't the right questions in themselves, but asking them may nonetheless be important in understanding the nature of things.

Do I have a point here or am I just rambling?

Blogger CrackerLilo saith at 5/21/2006 1:12 PM...  

It makes tons and tons and tons of sense to me, believe me. *hug*

I came via Peterson Toscano's blog.

Blogger Shannon saith at 6/10/2006 2:33 PM...  

I completely agree with what you say about not being able to change the sexual attraction without changing other things. I never like to say that I regret certain things in my life for the same reason. If I could actually go back and change that action, it would impact me in subtle way. I don't know what kind of person I would be if I were to change those things. I dated this real loser a couple of years ago. Yeah, it wasn't a good experience, but I'm sure that I gained positive things from it that I'm not even aware of.

Post a Comment