On Becoming

“I remember: becoming.”

That’s how writer Thomas Glave puts it in his book “Words to Our Now” when he revisited the time when he was still a young black gay man. He was then slowly realizing that his gender, sexuality and race could basically serve as invitations to danger, exclusions, and cruelty.

“Becoming.”

Not evolving. Not learning. But becoming. As if he is slowly being shaped by what he sees, by what he experiences in his world.

“... as in those lonely discovering days I sought so many beyond the infuriating sheen of cold blue eyes that were so sure they had the power to make me disappear they even had me convinced. Vanish, that coldness said, “Vanish” – and I did, partly unmindful of injustice; always preferring life among the invisible, particularly if they’re my own. I remember: becoming.”

The word struck me hard because I remember becoming, too. When I was younger and didn’t know well, I didn’t just yield to what my surroundings were instructing me to do. I became what, in my mind, the people around me wanted me to be (which is not to say that I became a strapping heterosexual, by the way). Much worse than that, I became fearful, someone who knows how to hide, how to act, someone who knows his place. Someone “straight-acting” as your regular Planet Romeo/ Grindr moron would say. I became that person.

But Glave also became someone better as he learned from other writers, as he learned from his travels, as he learned his own truths. “I hope that I’ll neither fail along the way nor be killed for aiming to live my own truth, as I --- we --- refuse to be silenced.”

Reading him I realized that we live in an age of validation. We are validating each of our choices. The ever expanding societal norms are telling us that each experience and more importantly each life is valid. Caitlyn’s choices are ever more so valid, if we are to delve into today’s headlines.

“Today, sixteen years ago or right now in the present, our we still exists in our acknowledged differences and strengths woven into the dream of a shared continuing history, the dream of so many still-silent and silenced voices throughout the world that are part of this We, inseparable from it. We can never let it be erased. It will never be erased... I close my eyes and breathe in, deeply: the new long season breathes out its beginning. Deep in the blood, beating. Discovering. Becoming. Yes.”

Beautiful. Simply beautiful.



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