Friday, October 1, 2010

On A Friday Night

Friendship: It isn't always this attractive....
but nothing beats it.

OK, so a little eye-candy never hurt anyone.  What am I doing home on a Friday night?   That's a very good question.  Writing to you all, I suppose.  I'm sure something will pop up as it always does, in the meantime, I was very moved by a comment that was posted on my Share Your Story post, and it went something like this:
I personally am neither gay nor Coptic, but one of my best friends came out about a year ago. His internal struggle must have been great. I'd known him for about 14 years and that whole time he proclaimed himself to be a straight Christian. Over that time, he wrestled with the church's logic in many forms. Being Atheist myself, I simply (paraphrasingly) said "I told you man, it doesn't make sense." He claimed chastity was his thing until he would get married someday. I couldn't fathom the idea how a person could be so strict and not know the beauty and pleasure of being intimate with another person.
So it was quite a relief (for me as well), more than anything else, when he finally came out. He told me he was really down in a dark place for a long time, confused, trying to fit in, trying to be what his church and community put into his head. I can't imagine what he felt as he led a life as the complete opposite of what he was inside.
Regardless, he's still one of my best friends. And he still has tiny battles with that side of his life and that part of the community that he lost when he decided that his honest self had to shine through. But at least now we can joke and talk about sex and religion openly and he can finally share what's really on his mind, what his life is like, and for that I'd want it no other way.
I'm proud of him and I'm glad he found the courage to be himself to everyone. It wasn't an easy decision for him, so I commend him with all my heart.
I was so touched by this!   I'm not sure if his friend is Coptic or not, but I don't think it really matters.   It's a story all too familiar among us, and I wonder how long is too long before the shit hits the fan for some people.    I commend his friend, for even though not being in his shoes (heck, they're not even shopping at the same footwear store), he was able to be there and understand.    It's so important to tell someone what you're going through.   They say "you don't keep secrets... they keep you."

It's easy to come out to another gay person, well maybe not SO easy, besides the fact that all of a sudden you may or may not become a romantic possibility becomes factored into the equation, and you wonder if you're attracted to them, or attractive to them, and all the bullshit may surface, but I digress:  for the most part, you won't be judged.   There is definitely a value in the camaraderie of being gay amongst gays, and being able to be oneself in a very safe place. But I think there's a different kind of healing that can happen when coming out to someone who isn't gay.

I remember a few years back I had come out to a couple of straight friends of mine, and the reaction astounded me.   In all cases, I just assumed that I would be treated differently, or maybe with kid gloves. I remember wondering if our friendships would ever be the same again.   But as I told them the truth about not only my sexuality but about my story and struggle, I just found myself in the company of people who have gone through their own battles in life, that really it wasn't just a gay vs. straight thing, it was just a human thing, and at the very least, an experience of being a man.    Being accepted by those I thought might reject me, quickly dispelled the myth that gay men cannot be counted among men in our society.   I think integration between the gay and straight world will only come with dialogue.

I've always hated labels, but they work, and help me navigate through this mess we call life, and its in these friendships, the labels can be dropped and we can just be... friends, dudes, boys, homies, however you want to call it.    The level of trust in my friendships skyrocketed when I came out to them.  My favorite reaction was one where my friend just told me "cool.  can you please pass the wings?"  It just didn't matter.   It puts a lot into perspective when a friend tells you to pass the wings after laying out your life story.   We should do more of that in life.   Next time Kim Jong Il threatens the US:  "That's cool, can you pass the kim-chee?"

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