Thursday, September 28, 2006

On the Road, again?

Forgive the lack of posts. It has been a busy month! Tonight I am off for "parents' weekend" at my daughter's college. I have missed her so much the past 6 weeks, it will be very good to see her. But this involves a 500 mile drive. Ugh.

From there, I am flying to Richmond for a "business meeting." Actually, it is a week-long sort of a workshop sponsored (and paid for) by my employer. It will be a week of discernment about the job I do and what shape it might take in the future. I've heard from colleagues that it is a wonderful, helpful, supportive, encouraging experience. Still, I'm a bit anxious.

It will have nothing to do with present employment; it is not an "evaluation." So, I know that I won't be called on the carpet or anything. And, I plan to be truthful about where I am in my life, both personally and professionally. But I am not feeling very good about the job I'm doing right now, even though I generally get good feedback. Sometimes I wonder why they are paying me at all. I have been such a space cadet, such a sloth.

I am fearing there will be a lecture about how I need to "buckle down and focus." I am fearing comments such as "all you have to do is. . . . . . "

I have been through a lot, accepting myself as gay, coming out to my wife, my boss, and a few close friends. All these years I've tried to be someone else. I don't want toa hear about what I "need to do."

I know I'll survive it . In fact, it will, most likely, be a wonderful experience. At least I get to fly! I haven't been on a plan in years.

Meanwhile, life goes on. The weather is beautiful, great for hiking in the woods. There will be time for some rest and recreation at my meeting next week. My transportation will be limited, but what do you do in Richmond, VA? Any ideas?

Saturday, September 09, 2006


Many gay men love show tunes, but there may be fewer who know Disney tunes unless they have kids. And, since I have children (and girls, at that), I have sung and danced and cried with my girls over many a Disney movie love song.

Mulan is a good Disney movie which certainly addresses breaking barriers. With several good songs, one that has always hit me quite close to home is entitled “Reflection.” Mulan sees her reflection in the highly-polished marble stones of a monument to her ancestors. There is a conscription for the army, and her father must go since there is no son in the family, a matter of great shame in Chinese culture of the day (and still?).

She masquerades as a man to take her father’s place and (of course) wins the day. The movie is poignant and very funny, too.

One song you have to hear is “I’ll make a man out of you,” sung by Donny Osmond (!) You have to hear it, with the all male chorus. Really hot. If you like that sort of thing. And I do.

So, here are some lyrics to ponder, from the “single” version of the song, released for public consumption as sung by Christina Aguilera. The song in the movie, with slightly different lyrics, was beautifully sung by Lea Salonga.

From the Disney movie Mulan

Look at me
You may think you see who I really am
But you'll never know me
Ev'ry day
It's as if I play a part
Now I see
If I wear a mask
I can fool the world
But I cannot fool my heart

Who is that girl I see
Staring straight back at me?
When will my reflection show
Who I am inside?

I am now
In a world where I have to hide my heart
And what I believe in
But somehow
I will show the world
What's inside my heart
And be loved for who I am

Who is that girl I see
Staring straight back at me?
Why is my reflection someone
I don't know?
Must I pretend that I'm
Someone else for all time?
When will my reflection show
Who I am inside?

There's a heart that must be free to fly
That burns with a need to know the reason why
Why must we all conceal
What we think
How we feel
Must there be a secret me
I'm forced to hide?

I won't pretend that I'm
Someone else
For all time
When will my reflection show
Who I am inside?
When will my reflection show
Who I am inside?

Music: Matthew Wilder
Lyrics: David Zippel

PS: will Blogger ever let me post a picture again?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Dona eis requiem

It's only in reflection, looking back, remembering. But I was in love with a man, once. In college, I had few friends but some very close ones. One, who I thought was close, betrayed me in betraying himself. Yes, he was trying to be a friend, I guess, but his demons got the best of him. And he seduced me. With all the struggles going on in my head and soul, this is NOT what I needed.

Then there was another friend. We lived across the hall from one another, with many of the same likes and dislikes. We shared a lot of things. But how was he different as a friend? How did I know he was a true friend? He could get mad at me and tell me what he thought and still be my friend. I knew there was something very real there.

After college, I worked a couple of years before returning to grad school. We kept in touch. He was already in grad school, and we both had time off after Christmas which we spent together. His household was crazy as mine, so we'd get together and travel a bit.

Then, when I entered grad school, we were in the same metro area, so we could get together. Then, he did an internship (as part of school) that called him to live out of town, some. We would get together on the weekends in the little town where he was living. We camped, we cooked, we played. But never like that.

I think I had shared with him some of my struggles, but he did not share his. I only found out a little bit later. After it was too late.

He left some hints, here and there. But I never followed through. If he had uttered one little word, one slight inkling, I would have been in his arms, in his bed, and in his life. Perhaps to this day.

If only I had just grabbed him and ravaged him. If only. But I didn't, and it's too late.

I had no context. I didn't know how to be in love with someone, not like that. I knew I loved him, but like a brother, right? That's what it was about right? Now I see it was more.

One way I see it was more is that I still miss him. Deeply

But I was trying to "straighten out" my life. If we ever talked about "it", it wasn't much. I'm sure I tried to bury my struggles or gloss over them. I was going to be all right.

It has been over twenty years ago that he shot himself. And I still miss him, deeply. I can see his face, hear his voice, feel his chaste hugs.

He shot himself because he was so locked in so many closets he could see no way out. No friend who would understand (he thought). I was going off to get married. I thought I had it all worked out. Maybe he felt that was the last straw. I was going off to get married.

I do not take any responsibility for his suicide. He made his decision. I was and am still angry at him about that. How could he take himself away from me and our other friends like that. So permanently?

I miss him, and I pray for him every Sunday, still.

I have felt close to suicide a few times. But I think my memory of his suicide is what keeps me from it. I was (and am) so hurt. I don't ever want to do that to anyone. Now, I have children. I could never do that to them. I may go stark raving mad and have to be hauled off and institutionalized, but that would be more forgivable, more easily worked through.

At least then, there are possibilities. But not with suicide. No matter how low, how deep, how dark, how depressing it can get (and don't try to convince me yours is any darker than mine -- dark is dark) there is NO option worse than suicide. Nothing is more selfish.

I do not believe G-d condemns those lost in that darkness. That's never even been a question for me. And I know that I can somehow forgive him for what he did. But, oh G-d, I miss him. Deeply.

This is a sad post. In the midst of it though, I have hope for the future. The one thing I want to do now is LIVE. Live for me, for him, for the truth. Come what may.

I only wish we could have told each other the truth, he and I. I wish we could have seen it. Maybe, one day.

Agnus dei,
qui tollis peccata mundi,
dona eis requiem.