Wednesday, June 28, 2006

When did you know?

Lets start with, What is your first memory? I just want to tell my friends who know me that when you read this don't say "not that again" I feel that writing it might help see things differently. My first memory, I didn't know it was my first memory until I told my mom when I was about 18. This was in a good period of her life. I'll talk about her in another post. When I told her my memory, she flipped. Why? Let me tell you, I remember walking around a bed to go on the other side, the window in the room was high and small. A woman gave me a wooden mouse on big plastic yellow wheels. I came out of the room pulling on the yellow string of my new toy with a big smile on my face. Before the hallway spilled into the kitchen, there was a room on my right. A long narrow room. There was a black & white TV, my grand father, my dad and one of my uncles were watching Bugs Bunny. This woman was my grand mother. My mom's mom. Why did my mom freak? My grand mother died when I was 2. I told my mom I remembered the funeral, well part of it. I was standing in the garage while 2 men had to carry my mom in she was too weak or had fainted, I don't remember. I remember a few things after that, but nothing major. What I remember is my supposedly friends from the alley out back calling me gay names. I was 4 years old. How do you want a 4 year old to know what the hell you are talking about when calling him gay oriented names? I just stayed there and defended myself saying it wasn't true. Not even knowing what I was saying. Then I heard people talking and saying those same names about a guy on TV. I looked, it was, I think the only publicly gay man at that time here, he was flaming. He was that 70's flashy, blond colored hair, pink suits, way out there guy. I did not want to be him. I wasn't him, I couldn't be. Later the dad of one of these said friends had a machine for is electronic class that could read your heart rate. He put the thing on his daughter's chest, and there you could see the lines jump on the screen and almost out of it. Her heart was beating fast and strong. Then he tried mine, 2 beeps on the screen and very weak. You have the heart of a girl he said. I went home and cried. The names stopped when I started school. I had my first kiss in kindergarten. My first girlfriend in 1st grade. The said girlfriend got a new bf in 4th grade. I hated him. lol He was also the cutest of the class. Maybe I hated her. lol Then high school started. And the names started again. Now I knew what they were talking about and I just kept defending myself. Even my friends in high school called me names or laughed when others called me names. Then, at about 13. I realized that I was attracted to guys. They had been right all along. How could that be? How could they have known? They knew before I did. Why didn't my parents say anything? How can I now face them and say "you were right all along" I just couldn't admit it. So it is that for the next 13 years I kept defending myself. Distanced myself from people around me. At 26, I had started writing something similar to this. I felt if I didn't accept myself soon, if I didn't come out I would go crazy. So with my text all written, I invited my friends one by one for dinner and told them. There were tears because of my past, but they all gave me a hug and later told me they knew but if I wasn't telling, it's because I wasn't ready. They gave me my space. 2 years after that I met my first bf. If people asked me what I had done on the week end, I would tell them me and the bf did this and that. You would see their faces change. They would comeback later and tell me they didn't know I was gay. You keep it so quiet. Why should I scream it on rooftops? And why would I lie about what I did or with whom that week end? They told me it made sense and they liked how normal I was acting about it. More people started talking to me at work. I guess I looked more open now. I never told my mom, she died when I was 21. I told my dad 2 months before moving in with bf. He said he sorta knew, had a tear in his eye. His pager rang and he left. That was it. We never talked about it again. When I left the bf, which they had met, dad and his girlfriend asked me, "Is Sandra seeing anyone?" I just looked at them and knew they didn't understand. So I said, yes she is, even if she wasn't it wouldn't work. They looked sad. I told them, she's missing a piece. lol Again we never talked about it ever. I'm very happy about ME. I'm a man who likes man. I wouldn't change a thing. My best friend Sandra was curious and she asked me,"Why men?" I asked her, "You Sandra, why men?" Then she understood. If she didn't decide to like guys, why would I? So I understood myself at 13 and hid it till I was 26. Not a fun period. But hey, I wouldn't be me if it were different. How 'bout you? Leave me a comment. have fun! J


Blogger Tony said...

Interesting to think about but I am pretty confident my earliest memory still with me is when I was about 3 years old. I remember walking around a basinette in my parents room staring at this beautiful little baby (the oldest of my sisters). it was evening and I can remember my parents having some friends over the house, all sitting around in one of the bedrooms my parents had converted to a small family/TV room (which eventually turned back into a bedroom when the twins came along).

6/28/2006 01:12:00 PM  
Blogger Daniel, the Guy in the Desert said...

I was sitting on my mom's lap watching while my grandfather rolled out this linoleum rug in the kitchen. I was like maybe two.

Then I remember reading to my grandfather sitting in his lap.

First found out I was fascinated by men when I was four or five in the dressing room of the public swimming pool. Tried to hide it forever.

Why do we put ourselves through so much agony over who we like?

6/28/2006 04:19:00 PM  
Blogger Mark in DC said...

Thanks for sharing your first memory, and later memories about your self-discovery. I like the way you treat the fact that you're gay as something normal, that you include it when discussing your weekend plans, and that you don't act as if you're seeking approval.

My first memory is when I was 4 years old. I remember being in the 'rec room' of our house. My mom had left the room so I walked over to the large console TV and turned the dial to channel 4 to watch cartoons. I remember thinking to myself: "Channel 4. I'm 4 years old!" Odd that that memory has stayed with me.


6/28/2006 08:18:00 PM  
Blogger Derek said...

This is a very interesting post. I write about stuff like this all the time. I've freaked out lots of family member with the things I have remembered as a young boy. I've always had a good memory. My first vivid memory is of my little sister coming home from the hospital, I was three, and I was at my grandmother's. I missed my mom really bad, when they drove up I ran out the door and met them, she was holding her, and I welcomed them, I remember this little baby with very blue eyes staring at me.

I also remember a lot of stuff from when I was two, it's all a bit fuzzy, but about two years before my grandma died, I was spending the night with her when I said, Mema have a memory of something, and I was wondering if it means anything, she asked me what it was, and I told her I remember a man pulling her down and making her sit in his lap, and she slapped him. She looked at me and said you were to young too remember that. I said what, she told me her brother in law was real drunk one night and he did that to her, and she slapped him, she said I had been spending the night that weekend, and she slapped him. There was a lot more, but she was shocked I remembered it, and said I was probbaly about two when that happened. Turned out he had a heart attack that same night and died. I don't remember that.

6/28/2006 09:08:00 PM  
Blogger Sorted Lives said...

Funny you brought this up as I was talking to my mother about this very same topic on Sunday. I think my earliest memory was at 4 -- my folks buying a home that I lived in for 8 years. I remember running up and down the street and my parents talking to our new neighbors.
Why I find this funny is my parents just visited the old neighborhood in May and it has become the slums of the town. Newer and bigger homes paved the way. Sad!

6/28/2006 10:32:00 PM  
Blogger tornwordo said...

Sounds similar to my experience, except I was out by 18.

Funny, as much grief as I went through with my parents, my mother confessed that she knew when I was five years old.

You know if it's evident at a young age like that, it's wrong to try to change that person. It is all people knew how to do back then but I hope people with "gay" kids today help them adjust to the world in a healthier way.

6/29/2006 07:01:00 AM  
Blogger john said...

Beautiful post.

6/29/2006 11:49:00 AM  
Blogger Jay said...

Great post.
Any regrets that you never told yor mom?

6/29/2006 12:55:00 PM  
Blogger Jay said...

Wait. Really? You wouldn't change a thing?
If you could, would you be straight?
I'm not doubting you, I am just trying to work this stuff out for myself, as well. It just seems a hell of a lot easier to be straight.
And I know this sounds bad, but, hell, if I could, I probably would be straight.

6/29/2006 01:05:00 PM  
Blogger Em said...

Hey Joel,

Thanks for writing this. I'm going through it right now. Why didn't I just say who I was? Well, everyone I loved was fighting against that part of me. Secretly, openly, with huge amounts of fear of non-conformity. I was afraid to lose them.

Why am I having trouble now? I feel ashamed that I'm different.

It helps to read others experiences though.

6/29/2006 01:12:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Hey, just found you through someone else (I don't even remember who now). Great post.

Not sure what my FIRST memory was, but I have a lot of memories as a kid that, looking back, were clear indicators I was gay. Unfortunately I fought it for 36 years and am now where I am now.

I would change things if I could, but as one of your readers asked "Wouldn't you want to be straight?" No, I think I'd still want to be gay -- because that's me -- I'd just want to be "me" sooner.

6/29/2006 03:19:00 PM  
Blogger Gray said...

First time at your blog. I found it by reading your comment to Jay on his blog ["looking out of the closet"].

First memories are like snapshots in a camera. At two, I remember standing on the screened-in front porch of our Midwest house looking at the snow. My older sister recently reminded me that I looked like "Randy Parker" (played by Ian Petrella) -- the little brother in the movie "A Christmas Story." [You know, all bundled up, with my arms stickins straight out to the sides!] :)

At three or four, I remember holding on to my dad's waist while riding behind him on a horse at my great-uncle's farm in the South. I remember kicking the horse with my heels and my dad getting angry at me because he was having trouble holding the horse from speeding up. At that same visit to my great-uncle's, I caught my first fish; I yelled at my dad, "It's a whale!" Mom later found the three-inch fish in my pants pocket.

My last earliest memory (age four) is that of holding my mom's hand (my older sister holding her other hand and my older brother walking in front of us) as we walked past a *giant* black behemoth belching steam! That train frightened and amazed me -- it was the train that brought my family to the Southwest.

As to the gay thing: that's why I just started my own blog. I'm reviewing my past from as far back as I can remember. At 58, I'm still "Half Out - Half In" the closet and I'm trying to help myself come out the rest of the way. It's a bitch being this old and still alone.

6/30/2006 07:50:00 AM  
Blogger Pete said...

Great post, I cried, it brought back some of my own memories very similiar to yours, mostly the names. Funny I don't have an early memory. Sometimes seeing, hearing or reading things will trigger one, similiar to this post triggering one. Other than that I can look at pictures of myself doing something and I can't for the life of me remember anything on the event. Thanks for opening up.

7/01/2006 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger Foxy Stone said...

two earliest memories- crawling up a country road and being picked up by a neighbor... my brothers had left me crawl up the busy street. I was about two.

trying to take my own shower at six in my brother's underwear.

10/09/2006 03:22:00 AM  

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