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11:01 p.m. - September 13, 2005
On a crisp night with purple clouds and a strong breeze
It has been said that the definitive moments of oneís life are rarely understood as such in the moment, and that it is only through hindsight and reflection that the power of those moments is realized. Other moments form the bas-relief of our lives, carefully remembered, much like chiseling friezes to adorn our inner temples. My definitive moments would be the leap of faith to become a Christian, the night of the poetry reading when I realized the crowd had come to see me and listen to my words, the first day of teaching and either I had to stand and begin or remain seated. Reaching for Spec that night in the car at the park, choosing action over immobility; that terrible afternoon when I cried out and there was no rescue for an 8 year old boy. All moments where change ripples out from the body in emotional fission that sometimes clears a new path, reveals an overlooked alternative, but simply propels. In toto these numinous friezes, these ponderous official stories of our lives, are buoyed across oceans by the confluence of countless smaller events informing personality, character, everything. And when it comes time as it always does and one heeds the call to dig and explore the self, one wonders just how it is I ended up here.

I am coming out. Last week it was to a new acquaintance-possible(hopefully)-friend. Yesterday to a colleague. Today with another. The paragraph break invites too much of a dramatic turn, a hyperbolic crescendo and bated breath, a self-conscious ta-dah! that I mock. I smile at this shy amusement of mine.

The first time was in conversation about break-ups and casually, blithely, without debate Ė I would say just slipped out but it was a conscious act: I ended a relationship with a woman to begin one with a man. He was surprised; I was confident. The sky did not fall. He did ask for a label later into the conversation Ė gay, bi, straight? Ė and I wavered, I did, though I mentioned the desire to pursue women just isnít there. I didnít add that Iím not pursuing guys either. By the third person, I was sharing my thoughts on men who crossed our path. No shame or guilt, no base feelings. A matter-of-fact big-whoop that surprises me, but doesnít, for its gradual arrival. There was no fanfare; I didnít wake up one day saying Iím a gay man; I did not take baby steps. Quite simply, it was time.

I plan on telling my sister. I want to tell my pastor, though on that issue I do worry: My church is conservative and family-oriented, and Iíve yet to reconcile my theology with where my mind and eyes wander when it comes to men.

It is all rather unremarkable I tell myself, except that it really is. I am disinclined to identify in any way with this so-called gay community and given my challenges in being intimate emotionally or sexually with a man, I doubt I will have much interaction beyond the most superficial. That is what Iím chiseling on my frieze Ė that Iím okay being the way I am. I am gay. I am a Christian. I am Jewish. I am alone but learning to appreciate it. I like long drives to nowhere. I like to laugh a lot, and loudly, when among people I trust. I like to walk slowly and observe. I like to listen to growing things. I am shy. I am unattractive but I donít walk with my head down. My wants and desires are simple, and fulfilled simply. I am not selfish or a degenerate because I am attracted to men.

I do not need, or am in want of, fixing.


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