Wednesday, May 24, 2006

AND NOW FOR THIRD THOUGHTS...

So here's the thing. I have my first job in months, and I can't concentrate: I'm spreading work out that should have taken four days over seven at least -- I just don't seem to be able to do what I used to be so good at...

or maybe there's something else going on...
What could
THAT be?


Since the compartmentalization began to crumble a dozen years or so, I have often described my condition as "
the breakdown of the bicameral mind"---typical of a certain sort of geek to use a book title as a self-description. [A friend tells me I have to stop quoting things
like that all the time: "People don't get it -- you make them uncomfortable." Well, that's like telling me to stop breathing. References are part of my life, and I don't think most of them are THAT abstruse, although even I see that Aesop's fables have gotten me into a lot of trouble. Aesop is apparently one of those people that everybody knows of, but nobody knows. (sigh). More people recognize show tunes...]

Well, part of what's going on is that the longing for a guy sometimes sweeps over me with such force that I can't do anything but sit there and watch my emotions take off on their own merry way, leaving the husk of me in suspended animation, or banging my head against the table, or just moaning aloud. And it doesn't take much to set me off. It's the thirty-year itch, I guess.

But to come back to the second thoughts:

It's not like I have suddenly stopped wanting what I want. Obviously, I want it. I know on some bone-deep level that I am queer. And we
are a queer bunch, no doubt about it: don't we have to be pretty driven to overcome the basic instruction manual we're issued along with our bodies to get what we want? It sure argues against undertaking anything lightly... who would be so crazy? We would. All of us. Actually, it would take a lot for me to discover happiness in what our little world so delicately covers with the veil of "versatility." In the meantime I'll settle for the revelation that there are actually people out there who might want to take what I want to give. Gosh darn. Imagine that.
But that is not the story.

The story is all about what happens here at home. There is the question of love. And commitment. And what I'll call loyalty, as fidelity has been taking a bit of a beating lately. And family and all it stands for, particularly for me. I guess I can see that there is no going back to "before"; the question is where we go in the "after" now ahead of us.


Because even if all the bridges I am constantly shown are crossed, I will be no more convinced that the chances of finding "what I want" are a statistic I can bear to look at -- or that getting "what I want," or even WHO I want, will make me any happier than I am now. It seems to me that expecting to find TWO incredible, funny, loyal, loving people in one lifetime might be asking a bit much. And then there is the questionable quality of "liberation": I know that there is a whole new set of orthodoxies on the other side of the blanket that are quite likely to be every bit as stifling as the ones the liberated have shucked off to their great content. And I know that I will, almost by definition, be sitting in in no man's land between them.

So, I'm here, I'm queer, I'm slowly getting used to it, and quite happy to accept that what I want is "against nature". Forget the statistics about gay animals, forget the anger of the self-righteous nitwits on both ends of the spectrum; just think about it. Even St. Paul seems to have made a bit of a dirty joke of it, at least as far as those who "
committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error." Well, maybe what we all need is a little more humor. And a little more distance.

Now, if I could just get a little work done, maybe I'd feel better about myself...

13 comments:

  1. Dang Troll.. A lot there.
    Being your 'authentic self' is not an easy thing. (some would argue that the only such self is self created, an act of artifice to reach for liberation.) You don't have to buy into the whole gay package; most gay men I know have some ironic distance from the stereotypes. and yeah, things like fidelity and monogamy are rare in men, gay or straight...And it ain't Utopia. Every relationship ends up (in Yeat's words) in the 'foul rag and bone shop of the heart'. You have a good marriage, it seems, and only your sexuality gets in the way of being at peace with your spouse? ( And if I read aright, you probably feel you are a total top, and believe me, there is a place in the gay world for such men. And stable relationships to be had where you have this role..)
    And I saw a lecture by Jaynes in '77 or so. Interesting theory, but not a persuasive speaker. In the Q&A he rather brutally shot down my question on if the claims of, say Buddhism or Yoga to quiet the mind and the internal chatter in meditation had any relevance to his theory..I'm bad to drop lines of poetry or comedy (Monty Python or Firesign Theatre) into conversation, or allude some quotation I think folks should know, and it's often thought annoying..

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  2. mr. Bill said it - A lot in one post. some random thoughts. Loyalty is good but twice in different contexts recently my wife has referred to me as "being loyal to a fault." She is right (and it is not a bad thing) but I suspect what she is erally saying with that comment is:
    Loyalty is good but constantly fighting who you are are (gay, bi, queer - what day is it) for the sake of not hurting your partner is a poor construct.

    And on a minor note - do not "dumb down" for anyone. Speak as you are - I am pretty smart and you have things that whiz by me and thats okay because ultimately it raises the sea level. I am accused of using "SAT" words with a combination of respect and derision. I use them because I love them - the perfect word is a wonderful thing and the same holds for the rest of your knowledge base.

    And back to biggies - I have a good job - make a good living - and this whole TGT has become a tremendous distraction both directly which I can control (blog less, etc.) and indirectly - the feeling that you are slogging (someone elses post) in slow motion.

    Hang in there - I fear we are going to be "here" together for a while longer
    Nate

    psl side note - the Art Institute was wonderful though the piece you loved did not grab me as much as it grabbed you

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  3. Thank you, Mr. Bill. [Oh, NO!] I don't think we ever leave the "foul rag-and-bone shop of the heart" once that organ makes itself known. Augustine said that we are born with a god-shaped hole in our heart, and that nothing will satisfy us, no matter what else we try to fill it with. That sort of says it for me.

    Nate:

    no, I'm not surprised the Caillebotte [?] left you cold. You probably have to be a painter of some kind to know what that painting is, beyond a couple with an umbrella: pure technique at the most extraordinary level. It makes me want to cut off my hands. Caravaggio the same, but then I hate WHAT he painted so much that it sort of balances out...

    Thanks guys.
    yr
    Troll

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  4. Troll,

    My heart goes out to you and your wife. Why not get in touch with "Evangelicals Concerned?" They're on the web.

    I think they might be of real support to you.

    God bless.

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  5. "Because even if all the bridges I am constantly shown are crossed, I will be no more convinced that the chances of finding "what I want" are a statistic I can bear to look at -- or that getting "what I want," or even WHO I want, will make me any happier than I am now. It seems to me that expecting to find TWO incredible, funny, loyal, loving people in one lifetime might be asking a bit much."

    Hi Troll,

    I used to share your skepticism. Hell, I used to have a major intellectual disconnect about even being able to love another man. Lust, desire, sure. But love?

    However, a recent experience (or rather, a recent collection of experiences) has changed all that.

    What if that one is out there, and not only that, but the experience you will share with him will make the feelings you have for wife pale by comparison, forcing you to re-evaluate the very concept love.

    You describe yourself as a geek. Imagine you've been playing nethack all of your life. It's the best game ever. You can't even imagine a better game even being conceivable. Then all of a sudden you find yourself in a full emersion virtual reality. That's what I'm talking about.

    Just some thoughts...


    Ian

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  6. Ian:

    I would settle for love.
    No comparisons, no rhapsodies.
    Just can't live without it.

    And maybe that's why my shoes are nailed to the floor.

    the
    Troll

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  7. Julian Jaynes wrote the 'bicameral mind' book. Google it, it's still not uncontroversal, the idea that the when the ancients heard the voice of God, it was their own subconscious...

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  8. Oh.
    How like me to retain the title and not the author...
    Hmmm.
    T@C

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  9. Job: yeah, I think it might be the weather too...but remember, you said it's been a couple of months, so maybe you just need to get back into the groove too.
    Geek: definitely true. I can't keep track of what you're saying a lot, AND I think I definitely miss the point, but I really like that. Like Nate said, don't feel a need to "dumb down", make us come up to your level! I don't consider myself NOT smart,but I do wish I was as well read as some of you guys so I could "get it." (BTW, what I love about your blog is how you fill in your postings with such nice artwork to match!)
    Love: it's scary to think that you might be giving up the comfort of a known love for a greater unknown.
    Lots to gain potentially but maybe not. That's a tough one.
    Self acceptance: This is good...I think the more you accept yourself, the more you'll know what you need to do. Although, I'm still not clear on your "against nature" remarks. It still seems natural to me! It's called love. :)

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  10. Troll, are you suggesting that St. Paul's "thorn in the flesh" is a dick in the butt? Shelby Spong, among others, suggest Saul of Tarshish, was a major closet case. A lot of his teaching seems to be 180 degrees out from Jesus, btw..
    I like to think of Gore Vidal's remark "if it wasn't natural, you couldn't do it."..

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  11. Sorry, guys.

    I think it's time we all got over the "natural"/"unnatural" thing. We are letting THEM set the terms of discourse, and I say that is a rotten idea.

    There is another, potentially even more upsetting post in this issue, but that will have to wait.

    I am not QUITE as willing to speculate as Bishop Spong Squarepants, but I can't discount his theory any more than he can support it. And who's to say that just because Paul loathed himself -- ALL the saints have hated portions of themselves, it's part of what makes them saints -- he wasn't also right about what could and couldn't be included in the kingdom of heaven?

    Let's just say that what we are currently celebrating is only worth celebrating if it is something new, and not something that has just decided to replace the negative sign of "shame" with the positive sign of "pride" and think that the work is done.

    It isn't.
    But then, who am I to talk?

    Yr
    Troll

    ps: you're not going to believe this, but my word verification mess ended in "sleaz"...

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  12. Dearest Troll,

    Before confusing myself by reading all the other comments, I have two thoughts.

    1) Actually, what we are faced with is not against nature, it is with nature. We were created this way. It is our natural instincts that are driving us and that we are fighting. Your rationale for saying "against nature" is manmade based on the fact that we are in the minority and that humans' "nature" is to distrust anything different.

    2) I was lucky enough to have some brief moments of "playing house" with the man of my dreams. Even while living this perfect fantasy it was evident that it would be a real stretch for me to establish a relationship with anyone, of any sex, that approaches the depth of the relationship I have with my wife.

    More later maybe.

    Flip

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