There are days (and nights), where I feel like I am the only one that is left in the world. It’s as if I’m locked in a solitary confinement facility and everyone has left the building. This is not a world that I wish to be in; rather its one that I have chosen for myself. For the time being it’s safe and secure and only I have the key to unlock my cell door.
Every day for the past 40 years or so, I have taken that key out of my pocket and looked at it. I have contemplated it’s shape and meaning more times that I can count. Some days it appears brighter and lighter while other days it has the dull sheen and weight of lead and those are the days where it weighs heaviest on my soul because I know I was the one that fashioned it. I built the walls of my own prison and then locked myself in. I pronounced my self guilty without evidence, judge or jury and thought I was in for a life sentence. But I have also come to the realization that I wasn’t the only one who forged that key. It was forged by a society that told me what I was feeling was wrong. It was forged by those who said I was damned for wanting to love another man. Being young and naive, I believed them and then willingly accepted the key to my cell.
When you’re in confinement you are left to your own thoughts and demons and they become bigger each day. You get to the point where you want to give in to them because you THINK you can never defeat them, so acceptance seems to be the easiest way to tame them. Then as the sunlight creeps through your cell window, you realize that another night has passed and your still alive. But how alive are you and do you want to pass yet another night alone and unloved in your tormented sleep?
I now know that I don’t want to live here anymore. I don’t want to be in my self imposed solitaire. I am tired of the demons that haunt my soul. I am tired of the fighting that continues in my head day and night. I am tired of waking yet another morning alone with no one to share my thoughts with. I am tired of not having someone to share my love with.
So,do I dare to finish another day in prison? Do I justify my stay as punishment for who I am or do I start to question the reasons why I have chosen to lock myself away?
I am at the point where I have answered many of those questions, and STILL I am in my own prison. I still haven’t the nerve to take the key and put it in the hole to unlock my door. Every time I take it out and look at it, I put it back in my pocket. I think to myself is it out of fear of the unknown or the combined fears of rejection and shame? I don’t have all the answers yet, but they are there creeping around in the fog I call my brain, I just can’t see them clearly enough to confront them. Those are the worst days for me.
Then there are the days where the words, “I AM GAY” are on the tip of my tongue waiting to be unleashed and shouted out with all the pride and purpose that I could muster. And then I retreat, back into my safe world where only I (and you) know the truth.
Slowly but surely I am working towards my release from these cold walls. I look forward to the day when I could walk in the sunshine and bathe in it’s warmth.