Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Hope from a single face?

Since the wedding I've thought many times of how that weekend was a perfect storm. My sinus infection was peaking, making me about as miserable as I could possibly be while still standing up. And then the minister came out with that golden oldie "It was Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve". If I believed in God I'd say that this blog was part of His plan; after all, it's unlikely that I'd be doing it if circumstances hadn't come together just so.

I got angry. And I got angrier. And I went back to the motel and spent the whole night alternating between soaking the bed with sweat in the midst of a quasi-sleeping delirium, and getting up to pee six times. I had nothing to think on but rage; my mind was like a dog gnashing, furiously and impotently, at everything beyond its chain. Clearly my body went to redline to burn out the infection. Eventually my mind, seeking to burn out the anger, went to redline as well.

Twelve years before, I'd taken hate into my heart because I'd felt like it was all I had to hold onto. It scored, pitted, and blackened my insides. Eventually it became clear that I hated myself for embracing hate. Later that year I forgave myself, and let go of it. For a week it felt like I was dying and being reborn. Since then I'd been working to divest myself of stupid, useless anger. No way in hell was I going to swallow this new bolus.

So I moved in the only direction I could go: back. I went to my childhood and found something useful. I found a way to understand that horse's ass of a minister just a bit, and hopefully understand his congregation better. I found empathy. And I came up with an idea for a way to transform my anger into something loving and constructive.

And my idea was...

A blog?

A blog where I show the face of a non-straight person every day?

And I said to myself, "Self... let me get this straight. In order to show people that gays and lesbians and whatnot are just like everyone else, you're going to single them out?? All that mental effort, with the grand emotional hero's journey, and that's what you have to show for it???"

"Dipshit."

Well, I bulled ahead anyway. For the first time in my life I cared about an idea enough to go forward regardless of whether it succeeded or failed. I figured it had already been done a hundred times. I figured I'd never get it off the ground, even if I did manage to sell the idea. But I didn't give a shit. And I still don't. It's my ball, and I'm going to run with it. I have to. I have to transform this.

Of course, it's always nice to have a bit of serendipitous encouragement. Last Thursday I ran across a New York Times article about how people seem hard-wired to empathize with a single person much more than with several people, or millions of people. It made me think of my core concept for this blog: a single human face that people can connect with. And I smiled, thinking this wasn't such a bad idea after all.

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