Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What If, Again (Revised)

I'm not happy with this post as I originally wrote it yesterday. Tuesday wasn't a particularly good writing day for me, not nearly as good as today is, and I took a huge shortcut in writing this post just so I would have something to publish.

What I really wanted to write was this:

Recently, I read an article in the September 28, 2009 issue of "Time" about Neil Patrick Harris entitled "Host with the Most: Neil Patrick Harris stars as himself." You might recall that Harris was Dougie Howser, a genius kid doctor, and, most recently, he's played the role of a womanizer on TV's "How I Met Your Mother."

Several years ago, Harris came out as a gay man after an Internet blogger insisted that he out himself to the media. I'm always thrilled when someone in the spotlight comes out--like Ellen Degeneres, for example--because they add another identity to the largely faceless crowd of gay people, thereby giving the collective whole of us more credibility and legitimacy in a straight world.

In the article on Harris, the following was said about him: "He's extremely comfortable with who he is.... He's not somebody who seems to have a lot of demons and is torn up inside about his place in the world [p. 64]."

I recognized myself in this statement, although not in a good way. Judging from numerous posts on my blog, I think it can be said that I'm not so comfortable with who I am, I have demons I'm dealing with (many of them completely out in the open for everyone to read about), and I am somewhat torn up inside about what my place in the world is.

But I began to think about what it would be like to be Neil Patrick Harris, who, at the age of 36, seems to have his life together, both professionally and personally. What would life be like if I were comfortable with myself, referring mostly to my sexual orientation; if I had no demons from the past to deal with; if I knew my place in the world and was comfortable with it?

From this, I began to think about how my life would be affected if I simply decided to embrace my sexual orientation. What if I stopped wanting to be straight? What if I stopped feeling negative about being gay? What if I saw being gay as beneficial, even advantageous? What if I truly loved myself as a gay person? What if, indeed.

As I think about it, I have two choices: Be miserable about who I am because I'm gay (which I can't do anything about), or embrace being gay fully because it's who I am. In other words, continue to fight against what I am, because I'm so sure the rest of the world doesn't want me to be it, or stop fighting, accept it, and see what life holds for me.

One thing I know for sure: If I were to become straight suddenly, I would no longer be myself. I would no longer have my sensibility. I would no longer have what is mine to share with the world, what I've been put here to contribute. I am unique among everyone else on earth, just as we all are, and, really, we should never want to be someone other than who we are. We are exactly who we were meant to be, and if that's good enough for our Creator, then it should certainly be good enough for us right?


OLD TEXT (if you care to take a look at what this post looked like originally)

Let's play "What If" again.

What if being gay was valued as much as being straight in our culture? What if it were an advantage to be gay? What if it were preferable to be gay?

What if gay people brought to our culture things that are uniquely theirs, things that our culture couldn't get in any other way, things that are valued and meaningful and necessary?

What if we turned around this whole negative thing about being gay and said that it's now a positive thing? What if no more negative energy was wasted on feeling badly about being gay? What if we refused to think negatively about being gay and saw it as only a positive?

What if, as a gay man, I decided to embrace my gayness? What if I no longer wasted even one more second feeling negative about being gay and believed with all my heart that being gay was the best thing I could be? What if I believed that taking away my gayness would take away the best part of me, that I would no longer be myself, that I would no longer have what is uniquely mine to contribute to the world? What if I loved myself one hundred percent because I'm gay, not in spite of it?

What if, indeed.

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