Thursday, July 4, 2013
It Feels Like Independence Day
Once, when I was smaller, I was terrified that my aunt and uncle were going to beat someone up in the big blue van they had. And when I say "terrified", I mean that. Memories of the nervous nausea that comes along with that kind of anxiety never leaves you. And I knew they were serious. A few years before, while we were camping at the Prairie Creek Reservoir, they captured a mole around 10am and stabbed it to death with a screwdriver. I begged them. I remember begging them until I threw up to just let it live. They didn't listen; I locked myself in our pop-up camper and cried until I was delirious.
So, I knew they'd do it. This time I didn't protest.
They lived near the rumored gay park in Muncie where, if you were driving through the park at night and someone tapped his brakes at you, it was invitation to get to know each other better. And this just didn't sit well with them. I still don't know the origin of the hate they had. Queer Bashing became an obsession in many conversations and it all became super aggravated after school one day. My cousin came home and said that a man tried to coerce him into his car. Which, I believe happened. Instead of praising my cousin for staying strong and getting away, and thanking their lucky stars nothing happened to their son, my aunt and uncle were furious. This was the night that someone was going to get it real bad, pay for these sins and get dumped near the White River, bloody and broken. They had a plan and I was this little tiny thing, petrified for another living soul.
Yesterday I was reminded of this memory while I was running. Running affords me a lot of time to myself - and yesterday... yesterday, I felt free. Absolutely and stunningly free. Somehow I got out of terrible situations in my formative years unscathed - save my gnawing anxieties. Somehow, even as a tiny, I knew killing a mole with a screwdriver was a disgusting display of brute and possibly the deepest sin I had experienced.
Somehow, even though I was inundated with the gospel that homosexuality was wrong and needed to be punished, I never believed it. I never believed it and I never understood it.
Yesterday I was reminded that sometimes there's a resiliency that needs to be praised.
I was reminded that even though some people hate, some people love. Some people love. Some people love.
And how lucky I am for a million reasons.