Thursday, November 09, 2006

But it's not all good . . .

So much emotion and tension and energy caught up in the reclamation of America. It's hard to come down, but as I'm coming in for a soft landing, I am reminded that despite sweeping changes in the House and Senate, my gay friends still cannot marry their lifetime loves. Straight woman that I am, I can only try to imagine how that must feel. I'm blanked out on words, so I'm repeating in honor of the GLBT community this bit I wrote last summer. It bears repeating and with it I am expressing my hope that one day, one day soon, love will win out.

I talked with my friend today and he told me he had recently suffered a bout of depression. It finally lifted, and he was again able to find pleasure in simple things, in the life he has made with a woman, in his new grandchild, his daughters.

When I talk to him, I can't help but feel sad that he had to give up an essential part of himself in order to have the things he wants. My friend is almost 60 years old. He grew up a southern boy in the wilds of Louisiana. He knew he was gay from a young age, yet he yearned to have children and surely felt a pressure to conform to the normalcy of a small southern town in the '50s.

He did all the right things, excelled at school, was a cheerleader in college, met an Indian princess and fell in love, as best he could, when he was longing in his secret heart to find his prince. He wanted children and he's a marvelous daddy. His daughters adore him and the new grandbaby is all he's ever wanted. Almost.

He adores his princess, too, and their relationship is filled with warmth and respect and a kind of love. But there's something to be said for being true to oneself. Maybe there's everything to be said for being true to oneself. Maybe without that, there really is no kind of life, even if it looks really wonderful.

In all respects, my friend's life is wonderful. He has everything anyone could want, and yet he finds himself depressed and I am saddened by something in his eyes, an unutterable sorrow, even on the best of days.

With the Cheney/Rove/Bush effort to once again rally the wingnuts on the right to vote by waving the red flag of gay marriage, I think of my friend and we talk about this choice he made, the only choice he really could make at that time and in that place.

Would he have made another marriage at such a tender age if he could have? Would he have married his prince? Would adopted children have satisfied the longing he has to be a parent? Would his eyes then sparkle and be filled with the same joy I see when we are laughing and being crazy and acting out and telling stories of southern life, when he seems to be most at ease, at peace, and before he remembers that he's someone else, not himself, not truly.

Almost sixty years of denying something as basic as his sexuality. I can't even imagine it. I don't even know how one finds that kind of strength and commitment. Maybe it's simply a transaction: I give up this to get that. But what if he could have had it all? What if he could have had his prince and his children, his beloved grandson and a life of being at home with himself, able to relax his vigilance and just let go. On his own, with me, with others who know, he's a different kind of man: fully alive, magical in his humor and liveliness and as charismatic as anyone I've ever met.

When I talked to my friend today, I found myself wishing, wishing that he had married his prince instead of his princess, that their children had two daddies and the new grandbaby two grandpas. What's wrong with that? How can anything really be wrong with that? It's just love, along with commitment and honor and the selflessness that's inherent in anyone who feels so strongly about kids. The greatest Commandments are to love God and to love one another (and yes, heathen that I am, I had to look that up just to be sure). Despite what we're told, it seems that even in Heaven's view, there is nothing wrong with that. Love is everything and in this life, wouldn't my friend's love for his prince have been
just as worthy a thing as the love he has for his princess?

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Blogger Kimberly said...

Oh, but change is upon us. Maybe I'm still just excited about all the progress that the elections promise, but I really believe equal marriage rights aren't too awfully far behind.

I feel for your friend and for the many others like him though. And thanks for sharing this again.

Also, I wanted to note I've been having a lot of trouble commenting on your site for the past week or so, but I've been reading!

November 09, 2006 11:58 PM  
Blogger Red Seven said...

If only the folks on my "team" had more cheerleaders like you, we could win out over the big bad machine. And you know what? We will, one day. Thanks for this.

November 12, 2006 1:57 PM  

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