Friday, November 30, 2007

From The New World

It has been a while since I sat at the computer to write, to both look in to my own soul and to also share with the community that I still feel a connection with. When I last posted some six weeks ago I did not think it was my last post, but as I read the comments it became clear: I had said my piece and until there was something new to say, it was time for a break, for me and for you. Frankly, I had become tired of my own story, the “I’m gay, I’m not”, the delusion of being a permanent resident of the basement, the sheer cruelty of thinking that Carrie (yes, I almost typed her real name just now, a good thing for she is a real person, not a foil in my literary memoir) would just stand by accepting whatever I felt at the moment. I can sit here now and I can speak for I write from another country, an apartment, my new home.

For an intelligent person, I can be rather dumb. For two years we have walked this path, each step leading me a little further away from my home, from my roots, from my comfort zone. And it was a long path leading to a basement, to my own bed: a long walk composed of many little sections, the famed baby steps of self-help books. So what is one more step, the step from basement to apartment, the step from in-house separation to true separation. And the last phrase says it all, “true separation”. No baby step this time, no incremental stroll down the path, no. This is the step off the cliff, a cataclysmic change in being, for me but truly for Carrie.

I have, as expected, landed on my feet. My new home is a modest one bedroom apartment in a garden apartment complex, a very middle class rental. The apartment is bright and airy, a southern exposure, a far cry from a near windowless basement. I can sit here and write this while looking at Craig’s List with the knowledge that I can – can look and can act. I will not act tonight, it is late, and I am tired. But there is another reason. Tomorrow afternoon I will meet my friend and we will spend the evening, we will spend the night. Yes, I have a boyfriend of sorts. We are not exclusive – neither of us are looking for that at this time in our lives, but there is a bond, a bond of sex and a bond of friendship. He traveled with me the day I found the apartment, the day we bought the furniture and the day I moved in.

Of course Carrie knows of this – I have never been one for secrets and lies, my charm and my downfall all rolled into one. And of course it hurts Carrie more, she being the proto-typical woman, caring for the kids, maintaining the household and convinced she may never lay with another again. While I have more faith in her future than she does, it is hard to ignore the statistics: it is a rough road for a middle aged woman with children to boot. This tempers my own happiness for I do still care about her. But it has become clear that my vision that we would be best friends, all but lovers (and maybe even that on occasion) was silliness borne of raging ego, the “why would anyone not want me” ego. Now this is healthy in many ways, a level of psychological security many dream of. But when it leads to such delusions, maybe it is not so healthy after all.

The other day I found myself musing about all the time and energy spent on whether I was gay, trying to avoid that fact, the constant testing of myself, tests I always seemed to “pass” with flying colors. And I could not help but wonder: if I had spent less time on the issue of being gay and more time on what being gay meant, to me, to Carrie, to my family, would I have handled this journey better. I do not believe the ending could have changed – that was pre-ordained it seems. But maybe I could have managed less pain on those around me. It is strange that even now, at this way too late date, there are moments where I still want to deny who I am; still want it all to go away. But those moments are less frequent with time, less frequent with every night spent with my friend, with every time I get fucked and every time we hug on the street.

I will write on occasion, when there is something to say, but it has never been my style to write a diary of what I did today. My life is busy – seeing the kids now involves driving and a different commitment, there is that pesky day job (which I do enjoy) and yes, there is a boyfriend a few times a week. So I will check in on occasion but when given the choice of living my life or chronicling it, I will live. There have been some e-mails, ones looking for my insight, for my wisdom. To those I say I have no insight, no wisdom to share. I feel less wise now than I did a few months ago. I have left a swath of destruction in my wake but I am also fulfilled in being who I am. Carrie has, as always, given the best advice: I have inflicted a huge toll over the last two years; I have what I have dreamt of. To do anything but embrace it would be the cruelest joke of all. So embrace I will.

Of course a post needs a name, and as I was cutting and pasting it came to me – From The New World, the name of Dvorak’s symphony number 9, and I remembered something that has always fascinated me. The music evokes a European coming to America, to the New World, and the fourth movement is climactic, the old and new worlds colliding. The American conductors fly through it, rushing to the only place they understand. Yet the Europeans take an extra two or three minutes to do the same notes because while the Americans are rushing to this New World, the Europeans are torn, torn between the new and old. I have long preferred the European versions, the almost palpable tugging of the old while inexorably moving to the new. So tonight I also inexorably move forward, but always with the knowledge of what has been, what must be left behind.

Love to all of you and good luck with being and living.