Monday, October 18, 2010

Living Consciously

So here's a conversation I had with myself yesterday as I got ready to go out to Save-On Foods with Chris.  

"It's cold out there.  Maybe I should wear the scarf I bought when we were in Paris.  I haven't worn it much."

"You mean the one that makes you look gay?"

"It does not make me look gay.  Yeah, you're right.  It makes me look gay.  Maybe I shouldn't wear it.  Wait a minute.  I am gay."

"True.  But do you want to go out of your way to make sure everyone knows it?"

"If they don't already know by looking at me, what harm will a scarf do?"

"This is __________, not Paris.  Everyone gets away with wearing scarves in Paris, including men, but are you sure you want to attract that kind of attention to yourself?"

"Maybe you're right.  What am I talking about?  I'm 51.  I'm gay.  So what?  When will I take responsibility for who I am and stop holding myself back because I'm scared someone might find out I'm gay?  Whatever."  

 (Me wearing the same scarf in Paris, with Notre Dame de Paris behind me, September 2008.)


  1. Oh! Those things we always have to debate about that nobody ever gets to see or hear.

    I hope you wore the scarf.

  2. You understand, don't you, Neal, about how life isn't natural for us? It's a constant struggle to hide who we are, because we can't bear to see the ghosts from all the bullying and taunting we took as youngsters, even though we shouldn't give a damn.
    Yes, I wore it. Yes, this is Maple Ridge, not Vancouver's gay village, and I got a few looks. You know the ones. But, maybe, just maybe, I brought a little style to a sleepy, complacent suburb of the Lower Mainland. And maybe, just maybe, I gave permission to other men to embrace their stylish selves without worry of being identified as gay.
    Like I said in the post, I am gay, so what? Get over it (that goes for me and for everyone else).
    Thanks for your comment. I appreciate it.

  3. Oh Rick, I was just browsing through your blog and saw this look GREAT in that scarf! Sheesh. I used to look at things (whether it was a hairstyle, a purse, or even a colour in some piece of clothing) and subconsciously reject it if it didn't fit my idea of whatever image I had of myself. You know, where you go around attaching labels to things. For you, maybe that label is "does this announce to the world that I'm gay?" whereas for me, I might have asked "Is this appropriate for a mum?" or whatever. I think when we finally get to a point where we choose what we like, or want to wear, or how to wear our hair, based on whether WE like it, rather than what other people might think, or what label they might attach, that's when we are truly ourselves.

    **and someday I am going to find an exceptionally fabulous scarf and send it to don't have to wear it out, but it will be just the thing for vacuuming or laundry... :)

  4. Bless you, Sarah, for your kind words.
    Here's a funny story. So Chris and I are in Paris, at a huge department store on Rue de Rivoli called BHV, in the men's wear, and I found another scarf I loved. While we were there, I saw any number of men wear scarves just like it. I saw it and wanted it instantly.
    But I started to ask myself whether I could ever wear it where I live. I went back and forth on that internal discussion a number of times while Chris tried on sweaters.
    In the end, I bought it, convincing myself I'd definitely wear it, why the hell shouldn't I? But I haven't even once. It sits in a drawer, and, whenever I see it, I'm reminded of our wonderful trip, and of the courage I still don't have.
    See, the scarf in the picture above is at least masculine, but the other one...well, not so much, with it's delicate stitching and fringes. Masculine in Paris, where men are far less uptight about whether what they wear says anything about their sexual orientation, but surely not here, not even on the progressive West Coast.
    One day maybe. But not now. I'd need the right attitude to pull it off without looking self-conscious and ridiculous, and, despite all the work I've done on myself, I'm not there yet.
    If that still makes me insecure, well,Ii guess I am after all. Maybe in the future.
    Come to think of it, I'll wear it around the house, and I'll think of you.
    Thanks for your comment.