INFREQUENTLY UNASKED QUESTIONS: The Gay Edition

Princess RoomI had my first crush when I was eight years old. And, by “first crush,” I mean my “first gay crush.” I suppose one could say that there had been others. I still remember the first day of pre-Kindergarten when I marched right up to the prettiest little girl in class and gave her a huge kiss, right on the lips. I’d most likely seen a movie recently–probably one of those romantic films from the 50s and 60s my mother liked to watch where kissing scenes stood in for bedroom scenes–and had felt it would be cool (in the way that four-year-olds do) to emulate what I’d seen. It is, therefore, entirely accurate for me to say I kissed a girl and I did, in a sense, like it. The teacher had seen the impending-PDA coming seconds before it happened and, though she hastily yelled for us to stop, she was too late–llips had locked. I had a rebellious streak even when I was four and took great pleasure in her scolding me afterward but having no ability to change what had happened: I’d won, and nana nana boo boo.

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PERSONAL FILE: Foggy Morning in a Brave New World

Photo: Joe Monroe

Photo: Joe Monroe

There aren’t very many clean breaks in life. At least that’s been my experience so far. More often than not, change comes slowly, incrementally even. Maybe that’s just in our nature as human beings, or just mere inertia, or maybe I over-think things. Yeah, that’s probably about right. In any case, what makes change challenging is when it progresses within while the world without remains remarkably–sometimes discouragingly–the same. Maybe we expect the meta-worlds we inhabit and the world at-large to grow along with us. In a great many ways, I sympathize with parents whose kids leave home for college. Not only are the late teens and early twenties when we really start to define who we are, but when we’re inserted into a world as dynamic and conducive to change as higher education, it can awaken within us parts of ourselves we never knew existed. In fact, it often does.

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To Those With Open Hearts, an Open Letter

I often feel like figuring out life is like learning to play guitar. Hopefully I'm better at life than I am at guitar.

I often feel as though the act of figuring out life is like learning to play guitar. Hopefully I’m better at life than I am at guitar.

My dear friends, if you don’t mind, and if you have the time, I’d like to chat with you for a moment. Turning points like this confront us in life from time to time and how we handle—or don’t handle—them can often shape the course of things to come in ways we seldom foresee. It may be that with the words I say here I will burn every single bridge of fellowship that’s been built during my brief life. I’m grateful that probably won’t be the case but, even if it were, it would be a small price to pay for the joy of being finally, truly honest about who and what I am.

What I’m about to discuss is no great secret and, in fact, I strove to be forthright about where I was—spiritually, intellectually, and emotionally—any time someone cared enough to inquire. It’s never easy asking someone deeply personal questions and it’s been my belief that if someone is bold enough to ask, I ought to be bold enough to answer. But first, and before anything else, I want you all to know something: I love you. The people with whom a man shares his life are his true treasure and I’m deeply grateful to have so many wonderful, generous, and kind people who I can call friends. It certainly makes what I have to say that much easier.

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