Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Shakespeare, Moliére, and La Cage aux Folles

Very interesting discussion over on GayMormon's blog. And when I say interesting, I really mean just very exhausting to read. I haven't even read half of what is being written in the comments area of his latest entry, nor do I intend to. I've just skimmed, and much of the debate seems very confrontational, and I'm not a big fan of confrontation. That doesn't mean I don't think each person writing isn't entitled to his or her opinion. I'm just not terribly interested in getting too involved.

I will say this, though: some of the comments I've read from a certain individual embarrass me as a member of the LDS Church. I just hope that people don't read his comments and feel that all members of my church express themselves in that way. That isn't even to say that he isn't a loving person or that he's a bad person because I don't think he is. I just think the tone and words he uses come off as very self-righteous, hypocritical, overly judgmental, and ignorant, which I don't think helps his argument at all and, frankly, I find it annoying. But perhaps if I knew him in real life, I would have a different opinion. And who am I to judge anyway? It's not like I have any room to talk. I'm not exactly living my life completely in accordance with my religious beliefs. Anyway, I'm trying to stay out of it.

One comment that I read from DCTwistedLife intrigued me enough to repost here. He said:

Not long ago, I had feelings that I would never 'fall' away from the church, because I would not let myself. I thought that the only thing that mattered was that when I died, I would have died 'clean'. But, I would have had no real experience of love or companionship. I convinced myself that I was okay with this. But then, someone came into my life and I found that my feelings towards him were pure, they were beautiful, and his were the same for me. To this day those feelings have not diminished. But I did not allow myself to pursue those feelings because of the conflict with my belief in the church. Today I sort of regret that, I might have experienced something so great. But indeed, I was not ready to make a leap. There is a time and a place for everything. There are so many decisions to be made. They are painful, but eventually they have to be made. And it is most important that you make them in honesty, and because they come from your heart.

I know where he is coming from, I think. I feel the same way. Only I'm now in the position he was in where I am trying to decide whether or not I want to pursue the feelings I have for my "someone." DCTwistedLife says he sort of regrets not pursuing those feelings, and I wonder if I will feel the same.

HawaiiDave wrote a comment on my blog the other day. He said:

Follow your heart! Don't worry about making family members or others uncomfortable in the process.

True love among two men is NOT wrong.

Jonah is a blessing!

He's certainly right about Jonah being a blessing. And I don't think true love between two men is wrong, but I haven't decided whether acting on that love in a sexual way is wrong or not. I find myself vacillating from day to day as to what action I will take. One day I'm telling myself I can't betray the covenants I've made within my religion, and that I won't feel peace in my heart if I do. The next day I'm saying, "Screw it. I've finally found someone I love that I want to be with." I just wish I could find peace in my heart. My heart isn't sure what's right yet.

I feel like Hamlet, the king of inaction. He spends nearly the whole play pondering what he should do. Speaking of Hamlet, I heard an interesting quote from that play (on Law and Order of all places!): "...there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so." I haven't decided whether I believe that's true or not. Because in some respects, good and bad is only relative to what you're taught. I've been taught that homosexuality is a sin. Yet there are times when my heart wonders if that's really true or not.

Jonah and I had a talk the other night. I said I wanted to ease off on holding hands and calling each other "boyfriend" and such. On one hand, I felt bad because both of us are excited about this relationship and want to express it and it seems unfair to not do so. But on the other hand, my religion has taught me to be a certain way for so long that I feel guilty when I allow myself to do things I've never given myself permission to do. And whether or not that guilt is valid, it's what I sometimes feel, and I don't like that feeling. And I don't want to hurt Jonah by curbing our expressions of affection, but I feel a bit screwed up right now and am not entirely sure how to remedy it. Jonah feels bad because, of course, he doesn't enjoy seeing me in pain. And I know this is hard on him, too. Unfortunately, it's just one of those "one-day-at-a-time" sort of things. It's not necessarily fair or pleasant, but it is what it is. As it stands, I'm just really happy to have Jonah as my friend. And fortunately we get on very well together and there is no awkwardness between us because of this situation. It's a very supportive environment, and I feel we are able to be honest and have communication, which is important in any relationship.

Today in one of my classes we talked about Moliére. His plays were banned several times because he dared to introduce subjects that the church frowned upon. Of course, at that time the predominant religion was quite corrupt and hypocritical. In no way do I bring this up as a comparison to my own religion. I don't think that at all. In fact, I think there is so much good in my religion, which, of course, is why the decisions facing me are incredibly difficult. But why I bring up Moliére is this: I've always tried to be a free-thinker in life. Sometimes it's gotten me into trouble. But, quite frankly, I'd rather be an open-minded free-thinker who errs on the side of being over-tolerant than a narrow-minded, self-righteous, hypocrite. But I guess all of us are hypocrites sometimes. I've just never seen the world in blacks and whites. I live in shades of gray. I am not a "letter of the law" individual; I tend to go more with the spirit of the law. I am by no means a conformist. I am very much an individual who marches to the beat of his own drummer, and in fact am more likely to rebel if someone tells me I have to do something. Again, sometimes those qualities get me in trouble, but I think I am happier and more well-rounded because of them.

I close with the words to a song I like very much, "I Am What I Am" from La Cage aux Folles by Jerry Herman. It's a song that very much speaks to me.

I am what I am.
I am my own special creation...
So come take a look.
Give me the hook
Or the ovation.
It's my world
That I want to have a little pride in.
My world,
And it's not a place I have to hide in.
Life's not worth a damn
Till you can say, "Hey, world,
I am what I am."

I am what I am.
I don't want praise.
I don't want pity.
I bang my own drum.
Some think it's noise.
I think it's pretty.
And so what
If I love each feather and each spangle?
Why not
Try and see things from a different angle?
Your life is a sham
Till you can shout out loud,
"I am what I am!"

I am what I am,
And what I am
Needs no excuses.
I deal my own deck;
Sometimes the ace,
Sometimes the deuces.
There's one life,
And there's no return and no deposit.
One life,
So it's time to open up your closet.
Life's not a worth a damn
Till you can say, "Hey, world,
I am
I am.

Sometimes I think we get so locked into our own personal points of view (myself included) that we fail to see the other side of things, thereby depriving ourselves of some rich and illuminating experiences. I saw the movie Crash recently. It was a good reminder of what it's like to see things from many points of view. I really try to see many sides of a situation. I don't always succeed, but I do try.


Elbow said...

Well said.I know this experience is hard for you. I have been in your situation before, and while I don’t know exactly how you feel, I can imagine and I want you to know that you are doing the right thing by really making an effort to take things slow.

As for Hamlet and his indecisiveness, I am the President of that club, and it sometimes gets exhausting thinking about choices and outcomes to different opportunities.

Hang in there. The Lord is with you. Your family loves you, and you have a good friend in Jonah. Those are really great things to have. Take care.

Foxx said...

[I]n some respects, good and bad is only relative to what you're taught. I've been taught that homosexuality is a sin. Yet there are times when my heart wonders if that's really true or not.

I don't really know how to say this, but if you're concerned with what is really true or not, you have to be willing to give up what you think is true. If you do that, you will be able to compare your original truth against the new idea, AND you will be able to adopt whichever you decide is the most true.

Saying it doesn't make it easier, but free thinking is all about making decisions for yourself based on your own experience and morality. It also means you must constantly re-evaluate what you believe if you want what's most true.

If you make decisions based on your most honest and aware understanding, you will never regret it.

Gay LDS Actor said...

Thanks for your input, guys. I really appreciate it.
Foxx, you bring up some interesting points. Thanks. Gives me stuff to think about.

Gay Mormon said...

I just had to quickly say that I agree with your whole post.

Regarding my bro's comments, yes, they are exhausting! He means well, but I agree that his abbrasiveness is over the top. Oh well. Family ... what can you do.


-L- said...

"...there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so." I haven't decided whether I believe that's true or not.

I love this. Thanks for it! There's the problem I see with deciding for myself what's good or bad. If I want it to be one or the other, I just think about it long enough and convince myself. I've seen it a zillion times in myself and just in the gay mormon blogs. That's why it's a good idea to consider what others have to say--people who have your best interests at heart. Like, say, God. ;-)

Love your blog. I've been away for a while and had lots of good readin' waitin' for me.

Gay LDS Actor said...

-l-, Glad you enjoy my blog. Thanks for the comments. I was telling Jonah today that I really like hearing so many different viewpoints from different people who are in similar situations as myself. It's good to get feedback from all of you.