January 18, 2011

John

John, age 5
South Georgia (1966)



This is a shot of me from our very small town in south GA. I don't remember ever feeling free enough to be the me in this photo. This is me before the taunting, before the indoctrination, before the forced sports, before the shame, before the Southern and the Gothic.

He is clearly and naturally being himself. I love him and admire him, but I don't remember him.

I was "different" from the beginning of memory. As early as I can recall. I wish I could find some humor to lighten the moment, but there isn't any to spare.


The laughter was always directed at him. Until he changed; walked differently, interacted differently, sat differently and thus began the years of believing that deep down and intrinsically, something was wrong with him.

Only 12 years of uninsured therapy would begin to heal that.

I take great joy in knowing that somewhere inside me, is the boy in this photo.

John's first, famous-person same sex crush:
Mark Goddard (Major Don West on "Lost In Space")
The first man I fell in love with. He was dreamy!

14 comments:

Spencer J. said...

thanks so much for sharing.

Mark said...

We're here, along with many other people in your life I'm sure, to love the John that the little boy became.

Susan said...

I think this free young boy is closer than you imagine. Otherwise, you would not have the words to tell his story.

You survived the worst that South Georgia (1966) had to dish out.

Today you can be the loving, accepting protector this child never had.

Anonymous said...

How can writing so brief be so powerful? The haiku of self-realization. Thanks.

Jeff Walls said...

I agree with Susan...that boy is still there and everyone who loves you can see him.

Chris Sowa said...

I am so honored to know you John. You inspire me each and every day to be my authentic self. You love me unconditionally and encourage me to do the same.

Edde said...

thanks you made me think of my younger days again too

Robin Monica said...

Sending you (the boy and the man) a hug from NYC!

Brian in Valdosta said...

My former boyfriend grew up in Waycross, GA (also far southern Georgia), and he tells a very similar tale. It brings real stinging tears to my eyes to read this.

I am so glad that you can see this little boy and know he was - and hopefully is again - a part of you.

Zack said...

John, thank you for sharing your story! Mine (and my sister's) is similar: the bullying and torment and self-loathing. We both spent our childhood years packing 'ourselves' inside a hard shell until eventually we weren't...ourselves anymore. It took years to crack that shell, to become centered and healthy and sane, though many of those childhood memories are just...gone.

Bless you for your courage and for sharing your story. It helps to know one is not alone. Best wishes for your future life, and I hope you find that boy once more!

Matt in Chicago said...

You were special and beautiful then, and even if you don't remember being that boy, he is a part of you. You deserved better than what you got, much better...you were healthy, happy, and you were NORMAL. It's the world that is ugly and dysfunctional for so many innocent people. Once I figured that out for myself, I began to feel happiness.

Anonymous said...

Love you sunny boy. My story has been similar, although today I am a 53 year old gay man fully accepted, there was an obscure and long period of self restriction that made me loose most of the happiness I had as a child. Smuuuack!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for sharing your story. It was beautifully written.

KT said...

Hold that beautiful little boy close in your heart, John. Bless you.