Monday, December 8, 2008

Telling the Story.

Every person has their story to tell and woven in with the stories that uplift us are stories that bring us down; as with everyone my story is made up of both of these elements. There is a story of mine that not many people know about and I've wanted to get it off my chest for a long time but I have been reluctant to do so because I don't want my mother to find this post and read it and be sad. Recently I was relaying a part of the story to a fellow blogger and I told her about my reluctance and she said to me “I can understand that. But at the same time... Don't you think that someone out there might really get something out of it?" Sometimes it just takes that outside perspective to help you see things differently. Thanks Epi.


I grew up in a small Maine town; in this town there was not a whole lot to do, nor did the town offer much to its young people. There were about 5,000 people living in this town, the majority of the residents worked in one of two paper mills. It was a quiet life; it was a peaceful life; it was a nice place to grow up. But as I remained in this town I grew to realize that it was no life for me. As a young child I lived by my parent’s rules, their rules were based on the rules of their parents, and their parent’s parents. I always felt that I was the outcast amongst my friends. I was always different from them- I was the chubby kid. It’s not so much that my friends viewed me as an outcast; I saw that I was different from my friends. I wasn’t athletic, I lacked confidence, and I didn’t view myself as being as popular as my friends were. I was always accepted by everyone I met; yet somehow I was different and it would be years before I knew why.

I've always known that I'm gay, on some level it has always been there. When I was a kid I just didn't realize what my feelings meant. It took a long time to realize that the other boys at school didn't think the same way that I did. While other boys at school were developing an interest in girls I was developing an interest in the boys. Sure I found girls attractive and I thought less than pure thoughts about them on occasion because that is how society had conditioned me to be. As time went on I found that I thought about the boys more and more than I thought about the girls. By the time it came to graduate high school I did so without ever having been kissed and I remained this way for a couple of more years. Like I said, looking back I always knew on some level that I was gay; I just couldn't admit it. One Christmas Eve I was working in dispatch and watching, of all things, a marathon of the Real World on MTV in which one of the house mates was talking about his experience in coming out and accepting the fact that he is gay. It was that day, sitting in my truck at the end of my shift, after making sure that the cell phone was off and the portable radio was off so that there was no way in hell that someone could hear me utter the words that for the very first time I said "I'm gay."

This was the beginning of both my liberation and my downward spiral. I see now, years later, that this was the moment that set me free but at the time it opened a whole new can of worms. I decided right then and there that it was time to start the process and that I knew that I couldn't live in the shadows forever but the idea of coming out to others scared the hell out of me. What started as a minor depression devolved into a very large, deep depression. I was at rock bottom and I was suicidal. I had a plan. A rock solid, fool proof, no way to back out of it plan. Thankfully I just didn't have the time- there were too many things that I wanted to get in order first.

I was out driving around one day trying to clear my head and my dear friend Kalem paged me, I called him back and we met up and grabbed some ice cream. Kalem was one of the few people who knew that I was gay and he also knew I wasn't doing so well with dealing with it. He and I we sat and talked for a while and I was feeling better and before we parted ways he handed me a CD and just said "listen to track #4" I'm certain that he didn't know it at the time but that simple act saved my life.

I got in my truck and put the CD in and set it to repeat track #4 and I listened and I learned the words and I pulled over and I cried. I cried until there were no more tears. I cried until I couldn't cry any more and then I listened to the song again and it was then that I knew that I wasn't alone; that there were many before me who had been in my position and that there would be many more to follow. At that moment I knew that I could come out; I knew that it would be difficult, but I knew that it could be done. Over time I learned that if someone who I thought was a friend had an issue with my sexuality then they really weren't my friend after all. I learned that with each new person I told I became stronger. I started to learn who I was all over again.

The CD that Kalem handed to me was Melissa Etheridge's Yes I Am album. Track #4 is Silent Legacy. Almost ten years later and I still can't listen to this song without getting a little bit emotional.

I tried to find a decent video with this song on Youtube but I didn't have any luck, if you all are good maybe I'll dig my guitar out of storage and record one myself.


Silent Legacy - Melissa Etheridge

Why did you steal the matches from the one room motel
Once they gave you answers now they give you hell
They will never understand they wonder where did they go wrong
How could you be so selfish why can’t you get along

And as you pray in your darkness
For wings to set you free
You are bound to your silent legacy

You’ve seen it in the movies and heard it on the street
Craving the affection your blood is full of heat
They don’t listen to your reasons as original as sin
Deny all that you feel and they will bring you home again

And as you pray in your darkness
For wings to set you free
You are bound to your silent legacy

Your body is alive but no one told you what you’d feel
The empty aching hours trying to conceal
The natural progression is the coming of your age
But they cover it with shame and turn it into rage

And as you pray in your darkness
For wings to set you free
You are bound to your silent legacy

You are digging for the answers until your fingers bleed
To satisfy the hunger to satiate the need
They feed you on the guilt to keep you humble keep you low
Some man and myth they made up a thousand years ago

And as you pray in your darkness
For wings to set you free
You are bound to your silent legacy

Mothers tell your children be quick you must be strong
Life is full of wonder love is never wrong
Remember how they taught you how much of it was fear
Refuse to hand it down the legacy stops here

Oh my child


Evil Transport Lady said...

Wow! I can't imagine how hard it was for you. I'm only starting to understand now, after 6 years of my daughter's comming out. Now she counsels kids at her college. I want to hug all the people struggling.......hugs to you!

I hope you are now happy:)

Epijunky said...

I'm proud of you, MM.

And along the same lines as Evil Transport Lady... I can't imagine what it must have been like.

I'm so glad that you came through it as well as you have.