Love is enough
Letter to the Editor | Thursday, September 3, 2015
Editor’s note: This column is the second in a two-part series. The first was published on Thursday, Sept. 3.
I have always considered myself a good liar. I can tell jokes without cracking a smile, and I can remain outwardly composed when the situation makes it difficult. However, for 19 years I lived a lie that was anything but harmless. I denied myself the right to be myself, and I lied to myself about myself, followed by repeated and brutal mental abuse if I dared reject the lie.
I am gay. My ability to speak this truth proves I have left that duplicitous part of my life behind me. I chose truth over lies. I chose myself over what my inner monologue told me to be. Even a year after I made this choice by coming out, the past can still be painful. The abuse I subjected myself to is unlike other forms of pain such as jamming a finger or even breaking a leg. Those are accidents that can heal. The pain I made myself feel was filled with malice and hatred. Like foot binding, I tried to contort myself into something else, breaking and crushing the parts of me that stood out.
After coming out, I relished the opportunity to be honest. Even something as simple as walking to class seemed to triumph over the lies I had told myself because with every step I took and person I passed, I knew the truth, and I could accept it. However, I was still uneasy with myself. The truth was imperfect in my eyes. I was fine with it, but part of me still wanted to change it and to change myself. I believed that simple walks meant I was at last living my life differently and honestly, yet I returned to the wish to be different. The same wish that began all my lies. My hateful abuse left wounds infected with poison, and they were not healing.
I am writing this because something has changed. I cannot say exactly what or why. Maybe it is the passage of time or the constant support from my family and friends. It could be that traveling by myself in Europe made me confront my issues and put them to rest. Perhaps it was reading Virginia Woolf this summer. All these factors probably helped, but I cannot give a recipe for achieving self-acceptance. However, I can say I feel a peace that leads to a deep satisfaction. It is a peace to accept things as they are.
Out of this peace, I have reached a hope that overcomes the problems and worries I faced before. Alright, I don’t know how I will have kids. I may break the bloodline of men named William Holland. This and other parts of my future remain unclear. However, I get to love someone. To love someone else is simultaneously to give of yourself and to receive another. At this point in my life, I am talking about a love I have never personally felt. I may be naïve and overly optimistic, but I finally have so much hope that I do not care. To love like this seems so beautiful, and, better still, it seems so natural. As long as I can hope for something that great, why would I care about anything else? Love is enough. Happiness and love, these are what I want to find in my life. It may sound like I am speaking in dull platitudes, but I believe there is so much truth in them. Consider it: Love is enough.
To me, being gay is more than loving a man. It’s about loving myself. It is recognizing I am not damaged, and I am not disadvantaged. I assume I will experience many things in my life to come: moments of sheer happiness and despair, accomplishments and embarrassment, pain and wonder. I may not know much about what I’m talking about, but I have hope and trust I will find happiness in my life and love will take its place somewhere in there. I don’t know what my future holds, but I’m going for it. If I can say I am blessed with anything, it is that I have the opportunity to love, and for me love is enough.
William is a junior studying political science and economics. He lives in Siegfried Hall and can be contacted at [email protected]