Tuesday, May 03, 2016

In, But Not Of

When I was very young, having one day seen God looking down at me while I was watching clouds, I was utterly convinced that I was very, very special and that I would one day do great and marvelous things. To some degree, I still cling to that belief. (It is sometimes a blessing to be unfettered by reality.)

My sense of being in but not of the world is a common theme for these blogs, mainly because I still retain the concept of “me” and “everybody else” being mutually exclusive. I have always lived in a state of extreme envy for what others can do…with such grace and ease…that I cannot. I watch clips of rock concerts where what I assume everyone else thinks is music causes everyone to rock and sway and thrust their arms over their heads, obviously having an absolutely wonderful time. Were I there, I would stand like Lot’s wife, totally immobile and excruciatingly embarrassed and furious with myself for not being able to “let go.”

I hate doing things which I feel call attention to myself, which is why I don’t dance. My assumption that anyone other than myself would notice me at all is an example of my perverse form of narcissism. And of course by not dancing while everyone else does, I…call attention to myself. I just can’t seem to win.

Of course the fact that I knew from age 5 that I was homosexual is perhaps the major factor in these feelings of not belonging. Well, they aren’t just feelings. I don’t belong. Surrounded by people with whom I could never really relate, never understanding what all these male-female interactions/courtships/rituals were all about…or caring…shaped my character and my life.

I’ve never wanted to be normal, and have succeeded beyond my wildest dreams on that one. I suppose a case may be made that normalcy, like beauty, is in the eyes of the beholder, and for as deeply as I hate and fear mirrors, I am constantly figuratively holding a mirror up to myself and never, never liking what I see.

Thank God that to balance all those things I want so desperately but do not have, I do have an exquisite sense of irony and the ability to keep my tongue planted firmly in my cheek. I almost never, even when I am ranting and raving and beating myself mercilessly about the head and shoulders with my perceived flaws, allow myself to take myself too seriously. It’s almost as if I were my own walking “in” joke. I have, and take full advantage of, the right to criticize myself mercilessly. But no one else has the right to do so. This has, throughout my life, caused innumerable problems.

I began, also as a child, to belittle myself simply as a means of beating others to it...to say “I know my flaws; I don’t need you to point them out to me.” And it got out of hand. As I have reported a couple of times in previous blogs, my best friend in college once said, “Roger keeps telling people how terrible he is until they begin to believe him.”

And all this is compounded by the fact that there is so very, very much that I want to do, so very many things I want to be, so much I want to know, to see, to experience. On one level I know full well that no single individual could possibly do all these things in a lifetime. But Tony travels the world, and Wayne has a vast knowledge of literature, and Travis is physically beautiful, and Gary is unflaggingly kind and wise, Bil knows opera, and Franklin flits back and forth between his condos in Chicago and Ft. Lauderdale, and…. And we are again back to the world’s unequal division between “me” and “them.” “Me” is singular, “them” is collective, and I am hopelessly, hopelessly overwhelmed by comparison. On one level, I understand and accept all this, but down deep, where my timid soul peeks out from under the thick comforter of my memories, it is all utterly incomprehensible, and I totally overlook the good things in myself to ache for what I do not and never can have.

So I have accepted myself for who and what I am and for what I have always been and always will be and, concentrating far more heavily on my flaws than my gifts, I stumble on, so overwhelmed with the wonder of life that I can truly not see my own position in it. Though, catching a glimpse of myself while passing a shop window, I can sometimes convince myself for a brief moment that we are two separate beings, and that perhaps the reflection I see is really one of “them.”
This blog is from Dorien's ebook of blogs, Short Circuits, available from Untreed Reads and Amazon; it's also available as an audio book from Amazon/Audible.com:

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