Brace yourselves, it's time for another one of those semi-meaningful all-about-me blogs... November...
Sometimes, when I'm walking around, I feel the impulse to do something spontaneous. I might sing a snatch of a song, or hold my hand out and run it along the wall as I walk, or a might adopt a different step, tip-toeing around and twirling my wrists as I open doors and pick up objects. It's just an affectation, of course: I don't do these things all the time, and I don't feel compelled to do them. There is no meaning in these actions, no logic underlying them. I don't plan to do these things more than a second in advance. These are just things that I do, odd habits I have just like everyone else. Like everyone else, I take the freedom to do these things for granted.
In fact, most people would probably not even consider doing these things a freedom, having never even imagined a situation in which doing such things might not be allowed. But four years ago, I was in exactly that situation. I used to regard my innocent, stupid, little twirly-wrist walk as a kind of crime, a guilty secret. I wouldn't do it if I thought someone might see me, and I would be terribly embarrassed if anyone did. And the reason I felt so guilty about it was because it was very, very effeminate. And that was Wrong.
How stupid! How arbitrary! Why should it be wrong for a boy to be effeminate? I have always been, and will always be, a very effeminate guy. I write poetry, I dance, I have effeminate habits of speech, gesture, and movement. But until four years ago, I spent every waking moment of my life desperately trying to conceal that fact. I kept my voice low, I tried to move in a "masculine" way, I avoided activities that might be seen as too effeminate. But at the same time I knew at a deeper level that this wasn't how I wanted things to be. I avoided the effeminate activities, but was revulsed by the overtly masculine ones, and as a result got involved in not very much at all. My efforts to maintain a masculine movement and posture merely made me appear clumsy and ill-at-ease in my own body, as in fact I was. Unable to be what I was trying to be and unwilling to be what I really was, I was merely a mess.
In another two weeks, it will have been four years since I first told another person that I was gay. The anniversary of telling myself I was gay was about a week ago. But more than admitting to myself that I was attracted to other men, it is the anniversary of letting myself be what I am, and telling myself that I could do whatever I wanted, and not just what others told me was appropriate. When I broke the dam and let my sexuality express itself, all the other supressed habits came pouring out with it. First in a trickle, and then a flood.
It took a long time to get over the ingrained habits of supression; to re-master the way I speak and move and think and act. I no longer avert my eyes from pretty boys. I've stopped caring when my voice gets a little high and squeaky. I clap at things I find entertaining, and I giggle at stuff I find amusing. I dance a lot now, and people even compliment me on it -- me, the clumsy kid who looked like he could barely walk properly four years ago! I tiptoe around a lot and, yes, I twist my wrists around when I feel like it, and I don't care who sees. Because nobody does care, and nobody worth knowing ever did: it just took me a while to realise that.
And proud? Not really. I'm not proud of my sexuality; it's nothing special. But I'm proud that I am who I am today. I like me. And that sounds stupid and trite like it came right out of a self-help book. But four years ago, I couldn't say it. So I guess I have something to celebrate.