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David Wycislak

January 1998

Darkness Falls - A Rant

Until now, I've made it a point to make my columns light, breezy, and most of all humorous. I mean, I've read Oasis and some of the writing here is (not to insult you or anything, really) way too depressing. Of course, I understand the reason for all the sad writing -- being gay (yes, a generic term because I'm too lazy to write all the variations... maybe I should just call us "sexually unique") can create a rather bleak and dismal existence. So I try to be the beam of happy light in Oasis, to give you a little hope and a few chuckles before you turn off the computer and actually do something productive.

However, the way my life has been going lately, I'm ready to pass the torch to someone else this month. The column this month will be moody and introspective --- I'm warning you of this because I'm not sure if I do the triste thing well. (Yes, that was a 50-cent word... I had to use it, however inappropriate it might seem.)

For those of you who simply cannot handle my sudden switch to the dark and dreary, I recommend the following web sites:

The Barney Kids Page (http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/7412/index.htm) - fun and frolicking with everyone's favorite purple demon

Disney.com (http://www.disney.com) - fun, fun, fun!

Fluffy's Ren & Stimpy Page (http://www.ecr.mu.oz.au/~dsml/rns.html) - Happy happy joy joy

But anyway...

As I'm sure a lot of you know, being sexually unique has a few drawbacks. Bigoted people, laws against you, stereotypes that never really existed in the first place -- it's not an incredibly fun life. But in my opinion, the most devastating experience in all of gaydom is that of meeting Mr. Right. Seeing him from across the room. Your eyes meeting. A sudden tingle in your spine. Imagining an entire relationship within the space of a few seconds.

And then he starts making out with his girlfriend. You just sit there, perhaps slack-jawed, perhaps openly sobbing. And then it hits you.

Everyone is straight.

Now, I'm aware that isn't true. Conservative estimates say that 10 percent of the population is homosexual, and other estimates even go as high as 25 to 50 percent. But when you're living in a small town that has absolutely nothing comparable to San Francisco's Castro Street, everyone is straight. Except you. And you're stuck here.

So you might have assumed that I've been burned by this situation before. And that I am upset about it.

Yes, I have. And am I bitter? Taste me.

Let me give you an overview. I keep falling for these guys who turn out to be straight. I'm talking with them, being my usual friendly self, finding these young men to be oh-so-interesting, when they make these god-awful straight guy comments to totally ruin my plans for them. I mean, how many times am I going to hear a guy I'm falling in love with tell me he got his tongue pierced because "the ladies love it"???

Those of you with a shred of optimism tell me that he might be in the closet and doesn't know that I share his sexual uniqueness, so is keeping up the standard act. I don't think so. I think everyone is straight. So depressing.

Moving on from that subject, I had an experience which I must tell you all about ---- the event which has caused this depressive funk. Now, I'm not a big fan of winter. I live in Northern Illinois, which gives us humid, suffocating summers and --- cringes of cringes, winters that are incredibly cold and brutal. The snow falls, everything turns white and gray, and then it stays that way for five months. The monotony of winter does nothing for my psyche except to break it down.

And even worse than the snow and ice, with winter comes the winter holidays. Days in which we gather together with our extended families to supposedly bring us all together in a time of joy.

Of course, to me this is all ridiculous. Families are made for fighting and power struggles. Holidays just fuel the flames. (You're gonna be happy, dammit! Now go sing some Christmas carols and get some fucking holiday spirit!!!)

So I went to Thanksgiving at my aunt's house. Many people gathering to stuff ourselves. Not my favorite activity. So the whole ordeal wore on me, and I was just pissed off at the world when it ended. So I was silent on the way home. And for some reason my brother started talking to me.

My brother and I are not close. Through childhood we played with each other constantly, but the three year age difference created a rift as we grew older -- and as he's been in college for three years, I really don't know him that well.

So he started talking to me. I didn't talk back. He started talking about how life isn't as bad as I think, and how he'd do anything he could to make it better for me. And he went on and on with that subject.

So began the silent crying, tears streaming down my face. I'm not used to comments like that. They just don't come my way often. My family isn't affectionate. And lately in my house it's like I'm alone -- my sister hates being near me for reasons I simply can't comprehend, my mother's life is her work as a kindergarten teacher, and my father is sufficiently distant enough that I have no desire to kindle a relationship with him.

So my brother was telling me how much he loved me and missed being my friend, and I started crying. I didn't say anything. We got home, and he asked me to come outside while he smoked a cigarette.

I'm not going to get into the little details of what we said, because some of it's personal. In a nutshell, he expressed real concern for me, and my own little barriers broke down. I told him all my secrets that I'm not able to tell my family. I told him about writing for Oasis. Talking to him and making these things actually known to someone in my family made me realize that the fact that I can't share my life with the people I love with hurts me a lot. I live lies, I have secrets that I don't want to have, but maintain because I simply have to.

It was something of a relief. Not total, because he doesn't live with me and I still don't know him that well. I realize that I can't be alone forever, or I'm really going to lose it --- so telling my brother what's going on in my mind helped me.

And I ramble, as I tend to do.

So my brother and I, on our front porch, cried with each other and he held me and for a minute or two I thought life would be okay --- something I haven't felt for a really long time.

And what has telling this story done for me? Well, I'm sitting in the middle of a college computer lab with tears streaming down my face --- kind of funny, kind of not.

And what did I intend for it to mean to you, Thoughtful Reader?

I don't know. Probably nothing. This column is for me.


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