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.
Labels: Teh Gay