Monthly Archives: October 2013

Chapter 3 – From the Books of Mark

chapter3The year was 1989. We live in a small suburban (almost rural at the time) town called Irmo. Sometimes I find it amazing what the brain chooses to remember and what it doesn’t or wont’. As a whole I do not remember anything from 1st grade to 4th grade which is where we ended up. My mom and dad had gotten back together again.

She loved him, southern tradition and her religious upbringing said she needed to stay with him. Maybe she didn’t want to be like her mother who continued to have children with men and either put them up for adp[tion or treat them like crap. Jessie put her 2 boys up for adoptions and while she didn’t actually put my mom up for adoption she did give my mom up to Anna, her grandmother, without even a second thought. Those are things I’ll never know. We moved shortly before Hurricane Hugo. I remember this because it was the 1st time I ever saw snow. However little it was and it didn’t stick but I saw snow. I remember driving by our old house in Columbia and seeing the big oak tree that used to hover over the back of the house now pressed against it. The red screen door laying in the driveway. The yard was a mess.

By this time I’m in 4th grade. I was in a new school. My sister, Lauren and I would spend a majority of our schooling at the same school. I don’t remember that being an inconvenience or an annoyance but maybe it was since it felt appropriate to say it. Our relationship was as it should be for a brother and sister. I loved her but she got on my nerves sometimes. I was mamma’s boy and she was daddy’s girl. Or at least that’s how I remember it. Lauren would get in trouble from my mom for not cleaning her room, I would get in trouble with my dad for playing with Barbie.

I did relatively well in school but Lauren was always the smarter one…or maybe she applied herself better…either way she got the better grades. I had friends in school classes were small and I think I got the attention I needed. I remember sitting in class and learning to read lips as the girls talked about the boys in class that they liked. I was kind of shy but got a long with most of my class mates. I remember some of the  picking on me because I was “gay.”

Again, I didn’t know what that was or what that even meant but  I had heard it before and I was very self-conscious. I remember this kid named Joey and he had the new Reebok Pump High Top basketball shoes. They were white  and blue and the pump was a basketball and orange. I begged to get these shoes. I needed to have them to be cool (every kid says this at some point). They were $100 and neither of my parents were having it. They bought me the L.A. Gears. They guys called me L.A. Queer. I got British Knights. They moved on to something new. I remember being really trusting or gullible however you see it. There were two boys named Josh and I wanted to be their friend so bad I got into all sorts of trouble. One example was when they convinced me that if I went into the boy’s room and climbed up into the ceiling I could skip school. Now mind you they weren’t going to be skipping school and coming with me they just said that it could be done and I said that I would do it. Needless to say that I pulled all the tiles down before I could even hoist myself up. Huge trouble.

The first time I was ever called the “N” word was by one of the boys named Josh. I remember being really upset and when I got home it was explained to me that no one should use that word again and if it happened I should tell the teacher. I don’t remember if I did. I had a girlfriend. Her name was Erica. That seemed to quiet things down for a bit. In elementary school holding hands was enough. She would be the first of many to help “save” me.

The next couple years are probably the best I can remember. My parents seemed not to fight as much. We were still going to the same church, I had lots of friends from there some of which lived in the neighborhood. My sister and I would ride bikes every where. We played with the neighbor kids. Mom threw backyard carnivals where people face painted and there were games.

I think the first time we went to Disney was during this time. I remember having a Mickey Doll and Lauren having a Mini Doll that we used to toss back up and down the stair like they were Olympic Gymnast. We would get in out sleeping bags and slide down the stairs in the summers, take the cushions off the couch to build cubbies and sit on the springs while we ate our cereal and watched cartoons. My dad worked for the cable company so we had free cable. We were the best of friends most of the time. Our rooms were upstairs, separated by a big play space. We had our own bathroom to share. The house was Brick 2 stories, much like the one before. No garage though. 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths. A huge backyard, big enough for us to ride our bikes around and it had a tree house.

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Standing Up For Your Children – From The Books Of Mark

1278769_642341699132155_7335429_oThis morning a local radio station, The Bert Show( www.thebertshow.com)  read and discussed a letter(click on it to go to the original post) that was posted by www.FCKH8.com where a grandfather gives his daughter a piece of his mind for kicking out/disowning her son(his grandson) because he is gay. There are many who feel that the grandfather did the right thing and then there are those who don’t agree with the way he did it because he is essentially doing to the mother what she did to they son. Here are my thoughts on this…

First, I’m gay. I have had an attraction to other guys since I was at least in 1st grade. If you read the rest of my blog there are tons of my mishaps as a child and this exploration and how my parents attempted to deal with this in the mid to late 80’s and early 90’s. So after several years of substance and alcohol abuse I finally came out to my Aunt and Uncle. Let me say my sexuality was not the main reason I partied hard but I sure felt a lot more comfortable with myself when I was trashed.

My Aunt and Uncle told me that all they wanted for me was to be happy and after having watched me almost completely destroy myself I can see how that response is appropriate. 1 of my sisters already knew cause I came out to her in High School. Her response was I thought you were bi. This response was because we would watch Saved By The Bell I had a huge crush on Zack, Lisa, & Kelly, and we would fight over Zack almost every show. I wonder if we would have fought over AC Slater if we had been able to foresee that the S-curl would go away and he would turn into the yummy-licious Mario Lopez….but I digress( SQUIRRELL!!) I’m sure my Aunt and Uncle in the midwest knew because I came out to my cousin  when I visited them one summer.

The suggestion was not to mention this to my grandparents because they were from an old school and our family is very religious and fairly spiritual ( I would later learn that it is the other way around). I told my Aunt in the Northeast and her response was “honey is that all you had to tell me? I’ve known since you were 3. and the rest of the Aunts and Uncles all had pretty much the same reaction. While it was a struggle for me to say the words to the people I loved the most that I was gay this was not news to them for the most part. If anything they were g;ad that I had finally realized it as one of my cousins put it, “we knew but you had to figure that out for yourself we couldn’t tell you.”

SO as the radio station read this letter the calls started coming in and one of the personalities said something to the effect good for the grandfather even though he did the same thing to the mom by disowning her as the mom had done to the son. And the posts come in

“Really not impressed. You don’t disown family members for any reason.. ever. And you don’t’ call your daughter a bitch. Wonder where Mom learned her behavior from?”

“So basically if I read that correctly it’s perfectly ok for the grandfather to “disown his daughter” for her decision but not ok for her to do the same to her son? I personally couldn’t disown my child but this is hypocritical at best”

“He is kinda doing the same his daughter did.. I think this should be a teachable moment for him and love her even when he strongly disagrees with her decision.  Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

“Nobody is born gay. Its a choice, a lifestyle. Its like people saying God made me have to temptations. God doesn’t temp us.” (THIS ONE IS MY FAVORITE)

I get that there are 2 sides to every coin and one wrong doesn’t constitute another but here’s my response to those…

I disowned my mom’s side of the family (excluding the Minors and the Waring’s) for being bitches and bastards. When people treat you or the ones you love like shit (excuse my language) and no matter what you do i.e. make amends and try to repair the relationship by keeping your side of th street clean and loving unconditionally and they STILL act like assholes and treat you the same if not worse…then you disown them for the greater good. For my sanity. When and if they are able to realize how much pain and hurt they inflicted and sincerely come and want to clean their side of the street then open communications can happen. We don’t know the rest of this back story nor the amount of trauma the son was put through before finally being put out. I don’t hate them but if they were walking across the street I would give them no more attention that I would a stranger. If I’d had an adult stand up for me like this when I was younger maybe I wouldn’t have had to be sexually abused by my great grandmothers husband. If I’d had an adult stand up and tell my grandmother that she was being a bitch and that it was wrong to take her hate out on me just because I had my dad’s name and I was the only boy and I looked more like my dad than the girls then maybe I wouldn’t be so insecure. I think this grandfather did EXACTLY what adults should do when another adult is harming a child. You stand up and you guard that child because he/she isn’t strong enough to do it themselves. And when  no one does it that child learns that no one cares or will care and then has to make a decision…do I live the rest of my life believing that no one will ever truly care for me and kill myself or will I fight on b/c the best revenge is a life well lived? What if Chad had committed suicide and the grandfather said nothing. Cause that’s where I was. I have a lot of other pieces to my story but this was one of the factors in my upbringing and let me tell you it was the hardest decision I had to make …to live. At a time when all seemed hopeless and like the world was never going to give me a break (and this was also well before my personal indiscretions). For many years the only reason I chose to live was because I felt it my responsibility to be there for my sisters. I was content that way until they didn’t depend on me as much because they were growing up. Then I had to decide again was there anything worth living for.

I do not want to diminish the path I had to walk to get to be the person and man who I am today but I will tell you that I think often about what my life would have been like if the adults whose care I was in back then had protected my sisters and I where we would have been.

If you are an adult and there are children around you whether they be 5 days, 5 months, 5 years, or 15 you have a right to be their voice because as much as they are coming into their own and talk back and might be disrespectful their true voice still isn’t developed and it’s hard to say that someone is hurting me because all they want is to be loved and all the deserve is to be taken care of and that’s why when we have kids we don’t just push them out of the nest upon birth. If we as adults don’t defend our children they will never feel safe. EVER.

AND THE CHURCH SAID….Amen Amen and Amen.

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