Friday, February 23, 2007

The world goes round and round




Before I was seven years old there were so many labels on my back beginning with nigger. By the time I was 14 I went through a kind of nervous breakdown, which happened when I was a preacher. And by the time I was 17 1 had survived all the labels, including the label of faggot. It wasn't and it isn't easy.
-James Baldwin


This is a quote from an article in Blacklight, interviewing James Baldwin about coming out. (Thank you Wandering Caravan for enlightening us always and pointing me to this site.)

This quote stuck out to me because I remember in College when I first began to accept that I was gay how hard it was. I felt like I didn't fit in with the straight people and thought that I would be more comfortable with gay people. I was more comfortable with gay people but only because my hormones were raging so I was blinded by some of the subtle nuisances of the culture that later would pierce my spirit. Gay and Straight people were really mean back then. Both cultures insisted that you be assigned a label. I'm grateful that my family helped me in becoming a strong man. Otherwise I probably would have been broken and bound by whatever label was thrown at me.

The thing is we can be so hard on each other for no good reason at all except for some misguided and unwarranted envious notion. Through our lives we are given numerous labels. I know that humans need to label so that they can categorize things in their minds. It's just amazing that the labels that we have in our minds are never a exact match with anyone else in the world. They are really just generalizations. So why do we put so much importance on them.

I've grown so much since my college days. I like so many others, I'm sure, wish that they knew then what we know now. I would have been able to forgive and move on. Trust myself. Love better. Understand the value of time and a host of other things.

I have no regrets about anything that has transpired in my life. I'm just saying that life really can be simple when you and those around you are genuine in spirit and intention.

I guess then life would be perfect and it's just not.

4 comments:

Joseph said...

thanks D

i too just came across your site through wanderig caravan. i'm slowly reading my way through your archives.

joseph

BronzeBuckaroo said...

D-Place, you will never know how handsome you are to me! You will never know how much the words in this post and so many others on your blog have touched and inspired me.

kennyking78 said...

D, please e-mail me. I am completely moved by this post. It has been on my mind to talk about the way we treat one another as a culture of gay men and this post just reaffirms that I was on the right track with my thoughts. I would love to hear about how you were able to grow and navigate through a time in which "gay and straight people were really mean". I know how I am navigating through this gay life. I just love to hear how others do it as well. I am curious to hear more about "back then". What is different today than it was "back then"? What has remained the same?

Joseph said...

I just saw an amazing documentary on Baldwin on PBS' American Masters. They had some really amazing interviews of him. Try to see it.

Joseph