Defending the Raven

Bisexual. Married. Man. Open. Read On.


I’ve spent the last two days having a really busy time at work and while I’ve kept up with the blogs I read, I feel like I was mostly just skimming. Last night I was catching up and I read Ben’s latest and most personal posting… or should I say started to. I ended up following a link he provided and read that first and realized I wasn’t ready to read his posting because I was having a nice relaxing night chilling out watching American Idol with SR.

I just got to work and read Ben’s posting first thing, and well… he kinda blew my mind. I am goona apologize up-front and say I don’t know where this post is gonna go and it may notbe coherent and I may not be able to fix it when proofing it after, but I’m just gonna let it go wehre it goes.

See the reason Ben kinda blew my mind is because what he wrote about is how I always viewed myself. Too afraid to share what was on the inside. Too afraid tobe honest with myself and others. Too afraid because of what I thought my family and others around me would think. And here’s why… I grew up always feeling as though I wasn’t living up to expectations. My parents were great parents. They only wished the best for me, but what came with that wish was implied expectations to do the right thing and to be the someone they expected me to be. To be just like they wanted me to be. I railed against that from a very young age and it led to many, too many confrontations, and an otherwise unhealthy relationship with my father. Couple this all with an older sister who lived up to all they were expecting in too perfect of a way. Then throw in the fact that the identity issues I was dealing with were not the simple “what am I gonna be when I grow up,” but were also sexual identity things.

I suppose one big break for me was choicing to go to school in New York City. I knew my parents hated the city. Even though I grew up 90 minutes away from the city my parents only brought me and my sister down once. I instead ended up taking trips in with my aunt to visit the Statue of Liverty, see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, and see Broadaway shows. I suppose someone could see my choice in coming to NYC was a big ole fuck you to my parents. I’m going to school close, but I know you hate the city and you’ll never want to come visit me, which was true, but that kinda pissed me off, but that’s another story. The thing was I still cared. It still mattered to me what they thought. I guess while as much as I was afraid of judgment I was most of afraid of not being accepted.

The thing is I don’t care anymore. In all that I’ve been through and in many ways worked through I know that at the core I am a good person and that there is nothing for me to be ashamed of in myself. There are things that I wish I could have done differently, mistakes along the way, but at the end of the day I am mostly happy with who I am (we all have things we want to improve on) and the life I have made for myself.

But here’s the thing… while I can look back and see the moments that allowed me to get here I didn’t design them. In Ben’s post he’s looking for the right time and place to slowly let the emotions he’s feeling out. I fought it and held back and keep the feelings I had inside — inside. But somehow some of them got out. Somehow some of them simply subsided away. And somehow some of them got changed.

I can’t say how it all happened, but it did. However, I will say that the biggest difference for me was when a very close family friend, a woman who is best friends with my parents, who lived next door when I was growing up, and who’s family has always been close to mine gave me a hug good-bye after seeing her one day. She gave me a hug and said “love you.” It was something we always did. No big deal. I said “love you too.” Then she pulled back and said “No I love you. You know you’re a really great guy, right?” and then gave me a hug that just seemed to take me over. To anyone around us it was a simple moment. However, to me she was giving me the permission to be ok with myself. She gave me the permission to be happy with myself. I walked away feeling so proud and good about myself. She knew about my issues with my parents and knew I was just looking for acceptance from them. But she gave it to me instead, first. Looking back I can look at that moment and realize that it was the moment that I allowed all the layers of me to be slowly picked away. Some of them were more difficult to deal with than others, but I allowed it to happen because I realized there was nothing to be afraid of because what was inside was not bad. It was nothing that couldn’t be dealt with or shared with the people who mattered most to me. And if they couldn’t deal with it then that was something to be dealt with, but I wasn’t gonna hodl it back because of that.

So, while I didn’t engineer any of it myself I stopped fighting it. I stopped trying to hold back and hide myself. I would say I stopped caring, but in fact it was more that I started caring about something… something terribly important. I started caring about myself.


January 25, 2006 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. I’m happy for you, Mark. I truly am.


    Comment by SD | January 25, 2006 | Reply

  2. And if you can’t do that… care about yourself first… then most likely all else might fail as well.
    It takes a long time, sometimes, to realize this, doean’t it?
    It seems so easy to want to give up. But carrying on and pushing forward takes strength, character, and love.
    You’ve got that in abundance, my friend. Look in any mirror.

    Comment by e.e. | January 25, 2006 | Reply

  3. nice post. i love that moment between you and your next door neighbor. very touching.

    Comment by P/O | January 26, 2006 | Reply

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