Saturday, February 22, 2014

I Chose To Be Gay Just Last Week

I'm more surprised than anyone about this recent turn of events. Up until last week, I was a heterosexual man. Then I chose to be a homosexual one afternoon. It was much easier than I thought.

Let me start from the beginning.

It was in Kindergarten that I first remember finding a girl aesthetically pleasing. I'd already heard about girls and how I, as a boy, was supposed to like them, but I was too young to really think about it. But then this girl named Michelle was just standing there in class, and I looked at her, and I thought to myself, "Wow, she's really pretty. Wow, I guess I like girls. Wow, I guess I get what everyone's been talking about." I didn't even need to do anything about it right then: it was enough to know she was pretty and that I could look at her.

Later, of course, as early as second grade and certainly by fourth grade, I had painful crushes on girls. I would think about them, desire them. Maybe I wanted to kiss them or hold their hands, but mostly I wanted them to be my girlfriends.

These feelings got even stronger as I got older and, in seventh grade, I had my first real girlfriend. What a spectacular experience. I still remember how neatly everything worked: I liked a girl, she liked me, and we got to be together and to be called ("officially") a couple, with all the privileges afforded couples--holding hands and kissing in public, going to dances together, trading meaningful trinkets like Swatch watches to prove to the world that we were going together... and, yes, we even got to break up. I even remember that part fondly. It was the most beautiful breakup I would ever have, and it was definitely part of the experience.

Future relationships, though sometimes more painful, only grew deeper. In these many relationships, there was true love, there were tears, there were fights, there was discovery of ourselves and our bodies, there was a different kind of friendship, we introduced each other to our favorite TV shows... we shaped each other's personalities in unalterable ways forever.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Eros: A Valentine's Day Gift

For most of my believing life, probably the #1 reason I believed in God was that I thought I felt him. That was my "proof." But what had really happened, of course, was that I felt feelings that I was told came from God. Once I realized that God was not necessarily the source of these special feelings, I was eventually able to drop him... and still have the feelings, of course.

Now, think of when you've felt romantic love: maybe especially as a very young person feeling it for the first time or (especially especially) as a teenager. Then imagine your parents or priests or whoever swooping in and telling you, "That's Eros you're feeling. He has hit you with one of his gold-tipped arrows, and now you are uncontrollably in love with this person until the poison wears off." This authority figure might even follow up with, "And I'm sorry if the person you love doesn't return the affection. It probably just means that Eros has hit that person with one of his lead-tipped arrows."

We can all see the ridiculousness of these statements, since we're now taught Greek mythology in high school (mythology here meaning, of course -- as Joseph Campbell quipped -- "other people's religion") and can easily recognize the allegorical nature of the mythological characters. It's especially easy to see metaphor in Greek mythology when the gods have names like Ocean, Night, Sleep, and Death or when they're gods "of" something (of war, of wisdom, etc.). It's a little more difficult in the Abrahamic system when all of these nicely-divided deities become lumped into one male figure who eventually becomes so powerful that not only is he "a god," but his name actually becomes God.

So, back when I was feeling "God feelings," those feelings could have been anything since God is everything. God is love, after all, but he's also a jealous god, an angry god, a god of mercy, a god of righteousness, and whatever else. He's a shepherd and a king and a rock and a father and even a mother hen. No matter what I did or felt or experienced, God could be blamed for it.