Thursday, June 20, 2013

A World Not Mine

The other day, after reading innumerable posts on FB about husbands and daughters and grandchildren and church socials and engagements and weddings and visits with/to/from married friends and relatives and their families struck me yet again that I have lived my entire life in the world of heterosexuals without ever understanding it or ever feeling I belonged—or was wanted—in it.

Oh, don't get me wrong: I understand people quite well, for all humans share the same emotions and motivations, and most are, at heart, very nice people. I have nothing at all against heterosexuals as individual human beings. But it's the societal divisions/clumps/clusters/rituals I simply cannot comprehend. I view it all much as I view organized sports which everyone but me seems to love. Not only have I never, ever, understood anything but the very rudiments of football or baseball or basketball or hockey or rugby or...; I have never had the slightest interest in learning. To go into absolute frenzies of excitement over the upcoming “BIG GAME!” which will be followed a week or so later by the next “BIG GAME” totally, completely, and utterly escapes me. To follow the lives of “celebrities” with an intensity and devotion seldom if ever shown in conducting one's own day to day life just make no sense at all to me. To be more concerned by the birth of some vacuous—but beautiful; always beautiful—movie star's child than one is by the obscene numbers of people killed by guns in the U.S. every year strikes me as incomprehensible and tells me something is seriously wrong with our species.

We are all given certain gifts at birth, among them intelligence, the ability to learn, and logic. Sadly, our capacity for these gifts is seldom fully realized. Though we are thinking creatures, we tend to follow a basic law of physics and, in all things requiring thinking, tend to take the path of least resistance.

Logic, one of the most precious of our gifts, is often the one most universally ignored. How and why people so readily and unquestionably accept what they are told—especially if the teller speaks with convincing-even-if-non-existent authority and the tale reflects negatively on someone else—is, to me, proof positive that I do not belong. I cannot comprehend the vastness and intensity of hatred and vitriol and unconscionable bigotry which surrounds me, and it frequently threatens to destroy my belief in the good and decent aspects of humanity.

I sometimes, in fact, feel that I am Alice and the world is a gigantic rabbit hole; politicians and pundits are Mad Hatters and Red Queens and the vast majority of everyone else are dormice.

Something in human nature seems to program us to expect everything to be simple. The world is many things: simple is not one of them. Yes and no, black and white, right and wrong, good and bad are diametric opposites, but the space between them is not a vacuum. There are infinite variations and shadings and intensities between each set of opposites. But it's easier to ignore those shadings, and so we do.

I want and expect the world to be what I want and expect it to be. That it is not is a source of constant frustration for me...and I'm sure for most other people. But it would be a far greater frustration for me than it already is were it not for the fact that I am a writer. I am infinitely grateful that this fact frees my mind, if not my body, from the world around me. Words are the wings which allow me to escape the earth and seek the clouds.

You may not be a writer, but for anyone with a little imagination, the world in which the body lives does not have to be the world in which the mind lives. The tragedy is that so few people, caught up as they are with the body's world of work and car payments and kids' tuitions, are aware that there is any other.

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday and Thursday. Please take a moment to visit his website ( and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (, which will soon also be available as an audiobook.


Kage Alan said...

The idea of the mind stretching and seeing beyond the mundane of day-to-day existence is one of the reasons I loved reading as a child, plus watch all my bad movies. They inspired me and continue to. It's also why I create my own worlds.

And I'm very pleased to know someone else who does, too.

Vastine Bondurant said...

Dorien, as a single woman in a world where so many I know are married, I feel left out. Not feeling like one 'belongs' isn't strictly a gay vs. straight issue but an issue of lifestyles, period. I'm straight, but I still do not fit in with the world of married folk.

And, by looking at all the beautiful sentiments I see posted on your wall by your friends and those who love you, I see a man who is embraced by many, many people. A man has many, many people who feel he DOES belong. Maybe not in a social way with married couples, as you say, but you are where you choose to be and

You're lovely Dorien/Roger. And you fit very nicely in my heart.