Remember when you were a little kid . . . and maybe you were enamored with your best friend's mother (if you were a girl)? Remember wanting to be close to the pretty girls in the classroom, looking for any "excuse?"
Remember feeling jealous when your best friend got a boyfriend and you didn't understand why?
Maybe you had a boyfriend (or a few) but you always REALLY liked his sister more.
Remember the sleepovers?
Remember getting caught by parents, friends, classmates?
Remember figuring out the word for what you are? Was it in a book at the library... a magazine... a television show after school?
What was that like for you? Were you told there was something wrong with you... that you would "outgrow" your feelings... that it was because of who your crowd you were running with?
Was this a sin? Did you cry at night worried about the damnation of your soul? Did you try to not have these thoughts and feelings... try to dress "right"... act "right"... think "right".... or normal... or however they wanted and expected from you?
Did you only want to please your mother? Father?
Remember... Do you remember feeling alone?
We, you and I, have shared those experiences. Maybe not all... maybe not in the same capacity... but I bet that all of us, have shared at least some of them. Regardless of the paths we chose - can't we all remember what it was like then - when we were learning about ourselves?
I think some of you have forgotten. You must have. Otherwise, why would I be feeling so persecuted within my own community? That's what hurts the most. I can shake off the ignorant intolerance from the straights, my family, my kids, even my best intending friends... but from within the gay and lesbian community... to feel judged... or rather inspected... leaves my heart almost too heavy for words.
When I was living inside that other person... the other El... I was so lonely. I tried to create a community, but nothing ever felt exactly right. I felt such a relief to start to tell my friends and family who I really was. When my friend Jess accepted me with her loving, entire self I can't describe the emotion of overwhelming joy that overcame me. And when other friends turned their backs on me, it confused me, but the emotions I had after coming out to them were still that of joyous relief.
Authentic truth. I can hold my head high.
Except when another gay finds out I have been married for (gasp) 12-fucking-years. Or that (gasp) I have five children. Then, my head cocks a little to the right, and I close my eyes and remember. Then I think... "Do you remember when..."