September '07 - Personal epoch.
Black Coffee- Our college mag.
Telling it straight.
There’s nowt so queer as folk
- Old Yorkshire Saying
The thought holds on. Some do. They scald your mind for good; brands the grey in your head like a piece of hot iron. I believe in the innate goodness of things though, and come to think of it, however unjust the qualms it evokes, the thought is just as well.
When the self wishes to rip off the blinders and get a changed perspective for a change, all one needs to do is run your fingers through that scald, feel the throb of days bygone, tap your fingers in time with the beat of its pulse and breathe in a lungful of life. Watch the world glimmer and blur and glimmer back into focus. The clarity of the sight is overwhelming, almost. And one knows the right thing to do. As simple as that. Coz there is never a right time. No point in kidding oneself on that. The mind sweeps aside the ifs and buts, the could-haves and should-bes and the million other veils hiding the soul. And when the last shroud slips the skin, all that remains is pure sunshine - liquid light pouring through each pore of the self. And I just am!
And the world can call me names – queer, bent, faggot, homo. Tags won’t peter out easy. It’s easy to put back the blinkers on and cop out. But I refrain. I owe it to myself. Ergo, I will shrug away the misgivings as the elaborate act isn’t worth it.
I am gay, out and proud.
The self is split in two, but it’s me, all the same, through and through. It is I – through the moments- hanging out with my straight buddies, whiling away the night over shared fags, toasts over a drink, the road-trips, nodding away to the comments over the new girl on the block, pulling legs over someone’s yet another love, yet another lay.
And it is I – through the moments – living it up with my gay mates, drooling over the new guy around, swapping tales on crushes and boyfriends, romping the streets, planning the next meet, feeling the caress of a partner, making love with him, living shared moments and loving it.
The double life splits the self and the charade keeps building. And when the pain gives way to complacency, the signs should be paid heed to and one should call it a day.
I wish the divide to bridge - fantasize some ancient spell doing the trick. Some pipe dream! And the dime-a-dozen caricatures don’t really help. If anything, it pushes the gear down one notch lower. Tokenisms be damned.
In a lot of ways, the lives of gays and straights are similar. Coz it is the same highs, lows, hopes and fears that drive the average human. But in many other ways, we live so very different lives. Insisting similar lives for similar rights is moot. Why the ginormous rants and raves over the differences? If nothing else, the sheer contrast is reason enough to come together, to connect.
I’ve witnessed plain rancor when a gay friend got beaten up by a couple of homophobes. I’ve seen the whiteness of the sheer warmth that some gay friends share with their accepting straight buddies. The politics of “we gays vs. you straights” entirely fails me. It doesn’t work that way. How you act has got nothing to do with the sexual trait in your genes and has got everything to do with the self within you. My sexuality doesn’t define me anymore than a straight’s does for him. It is a part of me – important - but just a part, nonetheless.
It is one crazy world. And be it straights or gays, there is nothing as queer as us, everyday folk. Coming out unloads its share of extra baggage and the thought ushers in no reprieve.
There would be ones who would clam up on me. And there could be the disappointing sigh of thank-god-i-am-not from the more accepting ones. Some would say that it’s a heavy price to pay. But you don’t balance the books of everyday life that way. At the very least, I wouldn’t have to grin and bear another homophobic joke, pretend to ignore yet another gay slur. Trivial stuff, one might say. But the trivialities add up to something huge. Or cut down to something as simple as feeling comfortable in one’s own skin.
It’s been a long stay in the closet but I’ve finally worked my way out of the dark. As I crack open the door, the sliver of light falling through exorcises the demons within. They say redemption lies in the first rays. I step out and bask in the light. No crystal orbs in sight to do a séance on how things would turn out from now on. But then again, no point in living a moment aforehand.
For now, I will stretch my limbs and feel the cramps easing out. And revel in the welcome warmth. It is golden light everywhere around - plain perfection.
It’s a beautiful morning. And I feel the dawn within me.
The sun is out.
So am I.