The other day at the library, I found a book called WHEN I KNEW. Here are a few of my favorite entries.
1969- My father was watching the evening news. The announcer said that Judy Garland had died. I fainted. I was nine. -Andrew Freedman
So my mother began the conversation. “Well, I was watching Oprah last week, and the show was about married men who turned out to be gay.” A lump sank through my throat. She continued. “And Oprah said something that made a lot of sense to me.” “If you walk like a duck and quack like a duck, you’re usually a duck,” recited my mother. I quickly closed my eyes and prayed for an opportunity to escape her presence, but she somehow found the courage. “Are you a duck, Darin?”-Darin Johnson
My father was tossing a football with my brothers in the front yard. Seeing me sitting alone on the steps, my mother took my dad aside. “Dub.” She said, calling my dad by his nickname, “I think Steve is feeling a little left out. Why don’t you ask him if he’d like to play too?” So my dad walked over. “Wanna throw the football some?” he asked. “I’d really rather go pick some flowers,” I replied. And we did. My father, a former football coach, spent the rest of the afternoon picking flowers with me in a nearby field. -Stephen Orr
I knew I was gay when the most exciting part of my Bar Mitzvah was meeting with the party planner. -Howard Bragman
On out summer school field trip we went to Dallas/Fort Worth airport to see Braniff Airlines. The boys got to see the cockpit, and the girls got to see how the stewardesses changed their Pucci outfits mid-flight. On the way back home, out class went to a diner for lunch. There were twenty-five kids who ordered twenty-four burger and fry combos…and one fruit plate with cottage cheese. What can I say? It was what I wanted.-Randy Smith
I was eight years old, playing hopscotch on the street. My dad and his friend Mickey Herzog are standing against Mickey’s car watching me skip and hop around for a while. Mickey finally turns to my dad and says, “Ben, I think you got a problem.” -Barry Karas
When I was ten I wound put on my mother’s leather evening gloves—they came all the way up to my elbows. I would sing “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” into the mirror. One day my mother walked in and caught me mid-song—I tried to cover, screaming out, “To the Bat Cave, Robin!” -Michael Frank
When the Maid Knew.
At ten, I was infatuated with Barbra Streisand. I bought liquid black eyeliner and would lock myself in the bathroom and practice drawing her Nefertiti-like eye extensions. One day the maid knocked. “Open up, I need the Comet,” she said. “Give me a minute.” I asked, both eyes finally done. “Open up now. I got work to do.” “Just a second.” I pleaded. “I don’t have a second.” She wasn’t going away. It would take too long to wash the eyeliner off.I WAS TRAPPED.I opened the door a crack. Our eyes locked as I handed over the Comet. “You should meet my nephew Bobby. You two would get along,” she said as she turned back to work. –Michael Grana
My mom picked me up from school in our Oldsmobile Cutlass that smoked when you stepped on the gas. Anyway, as she drove, we made small talk. Then, at the front of the house, sitting in the car, I turned to her and said, “Mom, I know you probably know already, but I’m gay.It’s not a phase. It’s just me.And I’m happyabout it…” She looked at me, and then smiled. I was waiting for the hysteria I had heard about. But instead, she said, “Well, if you ever get Burt Reynolds, he’s mine first.” –Karel Bouley
I knew fairly early on. In fact, right after the doctor slapped me on the ass in the delivery room, I looked up and said, “Don’t you think it’s a little soon for that? I mean, you’re totally hot, but let’s at least have drinks first.”–Chip Kidd
The FISHERMAN, fifty-one, sits in his recliner in front of the television, flipping the remote, the volume blaring. Across the room, on the couch, sits his son, twenty seven, staring at him; anxious, something on his mind. After several false starts and what seems like an eternity the son speaks.
SON (quietly) Dad, I’m Gay.
The fisherman hits the mute on the remote. The room goes silent. A long, agonizing moment. For the son, the world has stopped. He stares at his father, waiting for a response. Anything—the silence is maddening.
FISHERMAN I figured it was that.
His son is confused.
SON You figured what was that?
FISHERMAN Why we never talk.
Both men sit there, staring at the muted televison.
FADE TO BLACK
I remember I was about eight and it was Christmas morning. My three brothers and I tore into the mountain of presents. While they’re pulling out Hot Wheels and baseball equipment, I’m digging for the long, thin boxes. I rip open the first one I find and scream “All right! Pajamas with matching robe…how cute!” And I remember the silent, confused stare from my brothers. –Rusty Updegraff
I was watching a James Bond movie on the TV in my parents’ bedroom—at least I think I was a Bond film…There’s a scene where 007 forcefully embraces his Bond girl. He then proceeds to cut the straps of her evening gown so it falls to the floor leaving this gorgeous woman standingstark nakedright in front of me. Of course, this was TV pre-cable and she wasn’t really naked, but I was eight and this was supposed to be hot stuff for me. But all I can remember thinking was, “Why did he have to go and ruin such a beautiful dress?” –George Kotsiopoulos
Maybe it was when I planned the marriage to my high-school sweetheart—sting quartet,candlelight sconces,amazing flowers,choice of rings, design and execution of the wedding dress. It was only later—like immediately later, that I realized: 1 I’ve made a terrible mistake. 2 Wasn’t the wedding fabulous! 3 How an I going to get it up? -Steve Kmetko
I suppose I was a musical prodigy, but…it was my third birthday, and my copy of the soundtrack album of The King and I had broken. Hearing of my heartbreak over the loss, my aunt bought me a new copy. I remember unwrapping it, instantly filled with disappointment. “This is the show! I wanted to movie soundtrack! The orchestrations are so much better!” -Scott Miller
MY DAD WAS A BIG,TALL TEXAN WHO CO-OWNED A FEEDLOT. When I was in fourth grade, he told me that about two dozen of the cattle belonged to me. They would be slaughtered and the proceeds would be put into my savings account. I asked if I could give the cattle names, and he said yes, thrilled that his son was suddenly more interested in the feedlot thanBewitchedanddecorating the house. The next day as we drove to the feedlot, he asked me if I had come up with any names. I told him I had. I was going to name each of the cattle afterprecious stones. -Jess Cagle
I knewWHEN I saw the first kid get beaten up at school. WHEN I feared for Bambi’s mother. WHEN Miss Gulch morphed into the cackling Wicked Witch of the West inside the twister. WHEN my babysitter Lori came over and put on the album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and I heard the first notes of “Bennie and the Jets.” WHEN the boy from down the street came to mow the front lawn and finished in a cloud of hairy legs, sweat, and green grass clippings. WHEN at twelve I was mortified about approaching the counter at 7-Eleven to make my purchase: a Gentleman’s Quarterly.WHEN I opened that magazine and saw Calvin Klein’s first underwear ad, the bronzed god leaning back against a white pillar and azure sky. WHEN I got my first spread eagle glimpse of Penthouse… and felt nothing. WHEN I crashed riding my ten-speed down Keystone Avenue because I was distracted singing, “The hills are alive with the sound of music…” WHEN I finally had sex with my high-school girlfriend to convince myself that “this was just a phase.” WHEN he turned and kissed me on the hills behind campus and I felt his stubble on my face and it was like an anthem from the future singing yes, finally, finally, you will know what it is to feelLOVE.
Remember the scene in The Matrix where Neo has gone to visit the Oracle to find out if he's The One? Oracle tells him, "Don't worry about the vase." "What vase?" asks Neo, as he knocks a vase of flowers off a table. "I told you not to worry about it," she responds. The Big Question is if Neo would have knocked the vase over if the Oracle hadn't said anything. This implies to me that he wouldn't have, and that the Oracle, in fact, set Neo up, as she set up all the other characters. Now think about Mary Poppins. Did she not set the Banks family up? Remember the scene where she manipulates Mr. Banks into taking the children on an outing to the bank? Then think of the next scene in which she describes the bird woman of St. Paul's Cathedral to the children. Wasn't she setting the children up to feed the birds? Of course, it is on the outing to the bank that the climax of the movie plays out -- and you can't say Mary Poppins didn't intend it all in the first place.
So think about it. We all walk around feeling free -- but can we be sure we haven't been set up as well, by someone somewhere somehow?
Here's a fun tease. Maybe we're being setup by a most unlikely source! Take a look at this video and see if it doesn't twist your mind a bit. There are some other fun ideas here too so enjoy.
I decided to take down a lot of my past posts. I wrote those for myself more than I wrote them for everyone else to read. I don’t regret putting them up or wish that you all hadn’t read them, but it is just too personal. It made me feel pretty vulnerable and I feel better being in complete control of who reads my story when it is in that level of detail. I’m working on a much shorter version to post.
Also, it would be pretty easy to figure out who I am from those posts, which could potentially get me into some sticky situations if my blog gets back to the wrong people (aka ecclesiastical leaders).
Fast forward for a minute to today. I have a few things I want to talk about.
I got asked to Prom last night. (Haha, yes by a girl ☺) It involved lots of whipped cream on my car, which has left a layer of butter fat on my windows so I need to go wash it. I never thought I would ever be one of the types who returns to high school like that, but I guess I am now. It should actually be pretty fun though. I have quite a lot of friends who are still in high school, so it wont be bad. But still…
Also, Prom is on the same night as one of my mom’s orchestra concerts (she plays bassoon), which is upsetting. No one ever goes and supports my mom in her concerts, and I promised myself I would go to as many as I could while I am home. I missed one when I came back for a weekend in March too. (They were playing Rachmaninoff, I love him.) Aside from just supporting her in her endeavors, I really like going to classical orchestra concerts. So that is quite disappointing.
Also, my aunt and uncle from Portland are visiting for the weekend. I had a few things I’ve been wanting to do down there, and so we spontaneously decided an hour ago that I would go back down with them. It's a good thing I haven't fully unpacked yet so I didn't have much packing to do. I’ll be leaving any minute now. I’m excited, I get to go to my aunt’s cycling classes that she teaches at their fancy gym, I get to go to the Nike employee store and get 50% of all the new stuff, and also I’m going to buy a snazzy new suit which is something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. However, I need to hurry back because there is going to be a job opening at a gym downtown that I applied to so I need to be around.
That is exciting, but my Grandparents live in Portland also. I haven’t gotten to that part of my story yet but they are the ones taking my coming out the hardest. So there will be tension, and I know that they are going to corner me to talk about my homosexuality and give me the religion talk. They even used to give me the religion talk when I was Mr. Testimony so who knows what it will be like now. I’m a little worried about that, but I’ll survive, I’m learning how to deal with the G-parents and it will be okay.