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Memories

I took a trip down memory lane yesterday and it's rather surprising what pops to the surface over that time...

My session with my therapist was a bit more emotional yesterday than I was anticipating. As you take a walk along memory lane, you will encounter great memories and, of course, memories that you'd rather not have. More importantly, though, I got some insight into how my journey came to be.

I'll reel back the clock to around 1970, where I started to poke around the feelings I had a bit more seriously. The context here is relevant, we're talking about an era where LGBT was really not talked about and where you did see it discussed in our culture, it was held up for ridicule. I remember that I was watching a documentary one day, not even sure what channel, that was interviewing gay men and talking about their experience when my Mom intercepted me and told me that I shouldn't watch it, that it would "warp my mind."

This phrasing really stuck with me. Throughout my highschool years, I experimented here and there, even got to do one Halloween as a girl, but I never felt that I was in a place where I could openly explore my turmoil. It was always in secret, with a sense of shame about doing "something wrong" and being worried about being caught. You know, because, I was warped and not sound and straight.

When I left for University, I think I missed a golden chance. My university, in 1987, was one of the very few with an active LGBT alliance (Trent University, in case you're wondering) and a much more open culture. I was way deep in the closet though, I was determined to become a man, whatever that actually was, and I joined the Army Reserve. Now don't get me wrong, I liked the Reserves, I made some great friends and it helped put me through school, but it wasn't solving things for me.

When I went to College, I got really involved in the school: handbook, student council, lab tutor, and student network operator. I was also living alone and I ran out of time for Reserves. Also, we had a member of the student council that was gay and it was he that, I think, really helped to break the block in my head that said "something wrong." He was such a great guy, so friendly, full of life, and just great to be around and how can that be "something wrong?" It can't be.

I feel that I had carried with me, for so very long, this idea that my own turmoil was bad and that people with similar turmoil, be it sexuality or gender, were also bad. What a terrible thing to realize and how much was lost because those notions were in my head. My time in College really did knock down a lot of barriers for me, it wasn't long after that that I came out to my closest friends and my sister.

I only wish that I would have put my feet on the path then, rather than still thinking that there was another answer. Fear is powerful, how you harness it matters, and today I really wished I had taken a different tack, but I also understand my fear better. Easy to say I would do it different, given a do-over, but I am here today and I can still learn.

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