Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Letter to JIMM

JIMM wrote:
<<Just wondering, if you werent gay, would you be in the same career/life situations/opportunities you now find yourself?
How much has being different influenced your life?
Where does your courage come from, originate?" >>

Dear Jimm:
These are interesting, difficult questions. . . and I have been thinking how to answer these.  I think these are important questions for me to answer.  I've never put these ideas, thoughts together beforein writing.  I think these are questions I could never think about were I riding a Harley down the Cabot Trail, along the eastern side of Nova Scotia. . . . .yikes!  All my attention would be on trying to stay as close to the right of the road as I possibly could so I wouldn't go sailing high up in the air off the edge of the Trail into the waaay-below Atlantic sparkling in the sunshine. . . . .

Why do I use this image?  ;-)  You know.  I think my life has been a thrilling ride like the above one would be. . I write I can see again and almost feel that ride on the Cabot Trail.  It has been fun, thrilling, sometimes scary, challenging. . . . needing my attention and alertness. . . .

So I get almost-stuck in mid-question. . .If I weren't gay. . . would I be in  the same career/life situations/opportunities I now find myself now?  I want to say YES, I would be. . . . .I suppose. . .I would have the same desire and interest in what I am doing now. . . . .I think I'd have the interests in probing into the meaning of my life. . ..what makes me tick, act and react to people as I do and how all these things work in others. . ..and because these are essential and fascinating to me I'd be inclined to want to share these things, to help others come to know and love better WHO and WHY they are . . . just for the thrill of it.

Duude, you see how hard your questions are?  lol  You're a deep man. . .thinking, wondering about such things. . . like I think you want to get to the essence of things, right down to the heart of the matter.  . . .So. . . .How much has being different influenced your life?

Well, I've had an idea I was gay. .. I didn't have the vocabulary I now have to name and talk about my "difference" back then. . .. ."then" being four years old. . . 19 years ago. . . I remember my first "crush". . . .Peter. . . .yes, yes, his name was Peter. . . .but not the current "Peter" in my life, of course. . . .hehe I have a thing about "Peters". . .I guess. . .LOL  I can still see him at my 4th birthday party. . . he had given me this wonderful wind-up plastic duck. . .we were sitting on the floor close laughing. . .I can still see his long brown hair, dark like mine. . .and those deep dark almost black eyes. . . a real cutie. . LOL  I never had any reason to think I/we were different from anyone else. . . but by first grade I knew I was "different" from other kids. . .

There was this red-headed kid name Roger, curly red hair, freckles. . . he was just "cute". . .when Miss Doyle wanted us to line up to go somewhere I just naturally reached to take Roger's hand. . . when you are walking side-by-side don't you always hold hands?  NO you do not!  Not with another boy!  Roger pulled away so fast it startled me. . .and the look on his face told me "the very idea was terrible". . . .hahahaa.  I never reached out and took another guys hand!!!  Never. . . .until I got over it.  lol

And when we went to town and sometimes I saw grown-up men holding hands together. . . I wondered about that. . .No one seemed upset. . . ..well, we were in Provincetown. . .and "on the Cape" and people were different.  So, yes, being different. . .let's say it:  "being GAY certainly influenced, affected me a lot.  I am who I am. . . and my sexual orientation - my "way of being to the world"  shaped and 'styled' my life.  I wasn't bullied or picked on.  I wasn't called "sissy" or queer or fag. . ..On the Cape you do not use those words. . . . .not in public, anyway.  There are town ordinances against harassment. 

One evening when I was about 15 I told my parents I think I am gay.  I like other boys. . . .Mom and Dad remained calm, listening to my Great Revelation.  ;-)  Mom said "We know, dear, we know."  Just as imply as if she was saying "Oh, the sun is going down". . . .it was. . .hahahaaa  Dad said; "Yes son, we know.  Your mother and I were wondering when you were going to let us in on the news. . . "  ;-)   And that was that.  We talked about life and love, sex and stuff as the occasion arose naturally. . .we'd done that always anyway. . .just now the word GAY was part of the talk.  It was never treated as some horrible affliction or "thing" that I had. . .like a limp or a twitch or a missing part.  If one of my friends stayed over it was never a big deal. . ..and they didn't snoop either. . .LOL  In our home privacy was respected and expected. . . and you weren't weird for wanting privacy. 

And your third "probber", Jimm,   Where does your courage come from, originate?  Hmmmm.  First and foremost from my parents and they way I was raised. . .. .all of it.. . . .Courage. . .well. . .maybe a better word for me is conviction, and this gives me the energy and drive to live my life with joy and relative peace.  And these convictions continue to grow and expand as I do.

Mom and Dad are two wonderful people who love life, each other dearly, dedicated and devoted to their children. I think my parents have always been and remain lovers. . . .they refused to become married parents.  They have told me that the best thing they could do for me is to allow me to see they love each other.  That's how I learn to love. . .I've had excellent role models.  ;-)  From this their religious faith has grown and become real and solid.  I know this has rubbed off on me.
You've heard it said, likely, that "the family that prays together stay together."  And we did and we still do.  I wouldn't ever  use the word "religious" or "pious" about us O'Sheas. . . our faith is real and part of who we are.  What I am trying to describe is that it is all real and this is how we live.

Let me tell you, briefly, I hope, what is at the bottom or foundation of me.  I've worked on this and as we joke about here "I am a work of art in progress. . . .always becoming.  ."  I hold fast to this.  We are created in the image and likeness of God. Love does such things. . .Love engenders and creates love.  Being a gay man is part of God's gift to me. . .how I live this out is my gift to God. . . .and to others.. . .because to be real  'religion is relationships - God... Justin . . .and everyone else.'
How I love is how I live and vice versa.  I believe too that God has given me all I need to become. . .grow into the man He created me to be.  All I have to do is use what I have been given. . .and. . .as I use and share this I receive more to keep on going. . .

Specifically, as to being different or more clearly GAY. . . if/when I encounter fear or rejection, the 'whatevers', it is then I call to mind the WHO/WHY/WHAT I am, clear away some accumulated blockage, and then get on with it. . .with courage and certainly without fear. . . .fear is useless; what is needed is trust.  If I seem or look brave or have courage what I have just shared, in brief form, is where my courage comes from.  If this is who I am. . ..what do I have to be afraid of?!  I keep on growing, I keep on trusting and loving. . . .and "the junk" doesn't stand a chance.  LOL

THANK YOU, JIMM, for asking these questions.  I haven't done this like this before.  It made me stop and think and write it out for you and for me.  Thanks, bro.
                                                                  Justin O'Shea. . . . The Dunes. . . .June 15, 2011


Gary Kelly said...

Excuse me, can I get a word in now? Talk about kissing the Blarney stone.

It's obvious to me that you are who you are, JustinO, largely because of your mom and dad and your gran. Their love and support has made the tree grow strong and healthy.

BTW, is that you in the pic? Must've been Photoshopped. You look far too handsome. And even smart.

JustinO'Shea said...

Photoshopped? Hows that happen? Can I do it online? hahahahahhaa

I am older now, Gary. . .I will be 23 the end of June. . hahahaa and the fly-away hair has been cropped.. hahaa

You are totally correct about Mom n Dad and MmeBouvier, grandmere extraordinaire. ;-)

Jim said...

Dear fellow Cancerian......this was very enlightening Justin. Your parents must be as proud of you as you so obviously are of them.
Thanks for dropping by today and your kind words.

jimm said...

It's fascinating that you knew you were different at such a young age. It must have been quite confusing when you were rejected for holding hands, only to observe it was okay among the adults.

All this by the First-grade, that is similar to my own experiences, but the rejection was for my disability.

I had a feeling(my mystical side, of course, hehe)that you had an experience deep inside that gave you the drive and determination to reach for lofty goals. And no doubt your parents and role models nurtured those positives.

Now i shall share a bit. On Sundays i try to get thru the day without hearing-aids. Why? Because that's who i am. The other 6 days a week i'm trying to be like everybody else. Fit into their world. So for just that one day, Sunday, i don't worry about the phone ringing, the door knocks, missing the conversation, or even that car about to mow me down.

You see, ever since First-grade, i've been taught to be someone i'm not. It takes a lot of courage to overcome that. And that's what I see in you, Justin.

About that Harley, when i was a youngster riding double, the guy did a wheelie at 90mph. Never again! But skydiving's ok.


Justin, you sure have a different,
appearance than your old picture.
Miss your innocent smiling eyes.
You look more Macho than before.
At first I thought you were posting
a pic of Peter. lol Have a Great
Summer in P'Town.

J said...

Nice essay. I assume you thank your lucky stars every day to have been born to your parents in Massachusetts rather than to some mullah and one of his wives in Iran.

JustinO'Shea said...

You better know I do. . .often during the day! ;-) when i realize again how good it all is!

JustinO'Shea said...

JOE. . .the innocent eyes are still there, just hidden. . and, Joee, I am getting older yo know. . haha...if you miss too much, you cn always page back thru The Dunes. . .the photos haven't aged. . .like for DOrian Grey. . ..hahahaaa

SO you thik Peter and I look a bit alike? haa Comes from hangin'' out all the time. . .LOL

How you doing? Drop me a note. You know my addy. ;-)

Gary Kelly said...

You see, ever since First-grade, i've been taught to be someone i'm not. It takes a lot of courage to overcome that. And that's what I see in you, Justin.

Nice one, Jimm.

JustinO'Shea said...

"Sweet!" s'all I can say. . and THANK YOU both for pointing it out to me.

Stew said...

I believe that the people who do best in life are the ones that can be honest with themselves and even love themselves. For most people, that honesty comes late in life, when they no longer have the drive of a young heart.

It is wonderful that you, Justin, have found yourself at an early age. You will do well, as I've stated before.

And Jimm, I think it's great that you spend Sundays in your world. Welcoming others into that world will only help you all to be more understanding of eachother.

JustinO'Shea said...

As always, nice to hear from you on this great June morning! You always have good things to say.
I too am glad I "found myself". . .sucks living in the shadows. .. lol
Thank you!

Coop said...

I'm a little late chiming into this discussion.

Like Justin, I don't think our sexuality influences our (non romantic) interests or talents or hobbies. Or what we do for work. I don't LIKE the thunka thunka music that they play at Gay clubs. That's reason enough not to go there.
I used to ride horses... someday I'll get back to it. I shoot well (with rifles anyway).
I choose diet pepsi over diet coke.

I was picked on in my younger years for being different. NOT for being "gay". It was for the bad leg. I had no idea I "liked" other boys till 5th grade.

jimm said...

Coop, i think you hit the nail on da head.

Being different.

I'd bet most of us who are 'different' for whatever reasons, have some pretty interesting life stories and experiences that make it all worthwhile.

I like what Stew says about honesty, to be honest with yourself and to love yourself.

You have to know your core self, where your ideals originate, and why you take this moral path.

Its been an interesting topic.

Gary Kelly said...

Yes, Coop and Jimm - being different is simply not being the same. And I know which one I'd rather be. Who the hell wants to be just another face in the crowd? For me, anyone who tries to intimidate me for being different is jealous. Viva la difference!