Monday, June 4, 2012

my hand, my voice and choice

photo by wm. blake spencer
lone bird @ forsythe refuge in new jersey

i wonder how someone else
can be so confidently knowledgeable
about the choices that i have
and have not

how can another person
know the intimate,
intricate details of my life
when they have never made the
choice to hear my story,
my feelings, history, hopes...?

and if you do not know me
then tell me how you have the
arrogant audacity to judge me?

more specifically
how can another person
say they know what GOD intended
when GOD breathed life into my
bones and flesh and soul?

how do you know me with such clarity
when you have not taken one minute of your time
to sit with me and listen.

is this what you call
the love GOD has called us to live?

it seems to me
those who judge me
as a gay man
are the ones who have made
a choice.

as i said in my last post
i made choices during my life...
but they aren't the choices you presuppose.

my left hand and my voice
did everything possible to tell my story...
so i made specific and daily choices
to silence their storytelling.

i was about 11 years old when i was looking
through a box of old family photographs.

one not so old photo (at the time)
was taken with
a polaroid instamatic camera
during a christmas eve dinner at a friends house.

it was a picture of me.
i was walking across the room.
i noticed the groovy wide leather watch band
i was wearing on my left wrist.

i also noticed the limp
position of my hand

i didn't know what a limp handed position
meant to other people.
i did know that i had been
called queer and fag
which I did not
to be called
or wish to be called.

i also know that others
who had the authority to do so
chose not to stop the name calling.

at the time i did not know what it meant
to be a queer or a fag for real....
i didn't have information as to what it meant to be gay...
all i knew is that i didn't want
to be called
queer, fag, homo, sissy.

i discerned that it was my left hand
that was causing all the trouble...
so i put my hand under quarantine. 

i kept my hand in my pocket.
i sat on it.
i constantly tried to be aware
of what my hand was doing
so as not to give any clues
to others who chose to notice.

years later when i heard a recording of my voice
i noticed a certain inflection in my speech
i don't know where that inflection came from
and i certainly did not choose to manipulate my
voice in order to sound a particular way
so that others might bully and taunt me...
that is sheer stupidity
and i am not stupid.

without much thought
just as i had become hyper sensitive to
the position of my hand
i gave my voice the same kind of attention.

i diligently worked to be aware
of how i sounded
so that others might be comfortable with me
so that others might respect me...
so that others might choose to consider me
appropriate, and acceptable.

i made a choice around 11 years old
to be constantly aware of my left hand.
i was about 18 years old when i 
made the same choice for my voice.

be aware of how you look,
how you move,
how you sound
this was the never ending mantra of my
silent thinking.

do you understand how much energy
it takes to be hyper sensitive
as to how your body moves and how your voice sounds
all for the sake of other people
so that they might choose to accept you and respect you?

i chose to live this way for over 40 years.
i chose to internally torture myself with fear and shame
until i couldn't do it anymore.

my hand moves freely now.
my voice speaks fully,
because i no longer choose
to live with shame.

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