Cross posted at Fukshot
When I was fifteen, if you had told me that I would be who I am now, I would have stabbed you.
I’ve said these words to friends over the years. I’ve said them with a smirk. I’ve said them to claim some kind of rough trade credibility. I’ve said them so as to emphasize the humor in the irony that I could have come here from there. Here is out and unrepentant and indignant at what the world expects of and forces on queers. There was aggressive, insular, ignorant, hateful street punk like only Philly and possibly Baltimore can breed. There is what too much of the world looks like.
I would have stabbed you.
I like to imagine that I am wrong. I like to imagine that I would have fallen immobile in a swell of collapsing shame and anxiety and denial and while my entire world came apart in that moment, I might have also felt lighter. That’s just my imagination. That’s what I now think I should have been like then. I wasn’t. I was one of the people I try not to despise and fear now because they are (and I was) dangerous in their deep convoluted hate. I was not a very good person.
I called the out gay boy in my high school a faggot while harboring a heartbreaking crush on one of the boys I thugged around with. I’m sorry, David.
Some friends have commented that I can be very patient and nonjudgmental when it comes to ignorant hateful folks. I can see that they think they are doing the right thing in their fearmongering. I allow that they simply don’t know or understand the world in the same way I do. I know that they act out of fear, whether it is fear of people like me, or fear of themselves, or fear of rejection by people like themselves. I have this patience with these people because I have been like them. I have been afraid. I am still afraid, but not of myself. I am less afraid than I have ever been and I keep working on it, but I have not been afraid of myself for a little while now. Sometimes, when I have been worn down, I do hate them. I hate them with the same belligerent anger that I carried when I was fifteen. I’m trying not to be that way anymore, even to the people who would see me and mine dead in the street.
It was just the end of June, the high holidays. Over the past few weeks, people I love and respect have been, in a variety of ways, being unafraid. They have been saying out loud who they are and they have been speaking not just of their joy, but also prying open the corners of their shame. They have said these things aloud to me and to each other, so that we can all heal and grow a little. They have been trying to move themselves and their world towards their ideals. I sometimes feel like I don’t do enough of this sort of work myself.
Right now, this is what I can do. I can say that any one of the people in the world who would stab you for telling them they would become me really could be me some day. It happens all the time.
Is it any consolation?