[oasis]
[columns]


Jim

March 1998

Peace at Last

Cold arctic waves wash over my body as my last tears attempt to cleanse my soul. The fear and pain that has darkened my life slowly fades as my soul says good night. Images of the final judgment fill my eyes and they bring no relief. I gesture one final good-bye to my parents whose backs are all I've ever seen. Long absent smiles of old friends are filled with scorn, hatred, rejection. I dreamed of forever darkness and instead I live one last time the pain. I hear their screams, Michael, Paul, Roger, Dave, Sue, the many that have gone before. Soon my voice will be one with theirs. Does anyone hear them? Can you? Do you feel that rain? It's only the tears of sorrow of those who have passed before me. They lie in undisturbed long forgotten earthen beds. Does anyone mourn for them? Do the guilty ones ever cry alone at night? Will they be haunted by their past? The darkness is complete, the images all gone, only the cold earth to give me peace. Peace at last. Peace at last.

Regrets

I was reading some of the columns from February and past issues. The stories of the young gay being tormented and driven to suicide bring me to tears. I myself have on occasion been close to suicide. I'm not a poet or a writer. I wanted to try and write about what those last minutes must be like before death comes and that's how I came up with "Peace at Last." I don't know how these kids can live with themselves after they drive some one to suicide. Do they regret the abuse and pain they inflicted or do they just say, "thank god one less faggot in the world"? In particular I was reading the Profiles in Courage section for February about Tom Beddingfield who lost his boyfriend Brandon to suicide. It makes me so angry that no one ever stands up for these kids who are being tormented like that. So I come to the title of my article, Regrets. What do I regret?

I am older than most of the columnists, in my late 20's. I've had the chance to gain enough life experience to know what to regret and see and understand the pain I have caused. Lets go back to high school. I was not out in high school. I didn't even consider myself gay even though all I thought about was guys. It was just unthinkable back then. I was raised catholic and went to catholic schools. I didn't know many kids my freshman year. Some kids my age would pick on me but it was never too bad because my older brother was very popular and so the older kids wouldn't pick on me. The guys my age would steal my books and write "fag" in them. No one ever beat me up though. Of course, I passed the abuse on to someone even sadder than I was.

Regret #1 Let's call him Eric. He was very femme. I don't know if he is gay or not. My friends and I would tease him but never as bad as I was teased. Then one day after being humiliated by some other kids I realized that I shouldn't be taking my pain out on others by making fun of them. I never bothered Eric again. I have never harassed anyone since then. I really regret how I teased him. It was never as bad what other people did because I wasn't mean about it, just having fun at his expense. But I really do feel bad about what I did. I wish there was a way to make up for it.

Regret #2 There was this other guy in my school, call him Tim. People used to pick on him (I did not). I thought he was pretty cool but he was a quiet guy, kind of nerdy. In particular this one guy used to punch him a lot in gym class in the locker room. I always stood by with the other guys never saying anything to help Tim out. I was afraid of attracting his abuse. I wish I had said something to stop him. I know the pain because there was another guy in the school, a boxer, who like to use me as a punching bag until the most popular girl in school bitched him out in front of a room full of people. She dated one of the biggest guys on the football team so I was bruise free after that. It was a bit embarrassing though because I had to have a girl stand up for me. I don't know where Tim ended up in life but I'm sure he's doing well working as a computer genius. I really wish I had stuck up for him though.

I have tried to make up for these action by trying to be nice to everyone. I have also gone to bat for friends of mine who others made fun off. I'm no saint though, but I try. We really need to spend less time hating and looking for reasons to abuse each other and spend more time trying to love each other. I heard today that the state of Maine just rescinded its gay rights laws. The movement was backed and driven by the Christian Coalition. Are they like neo-nazi, hate mongers??? The world is full of war, famine, homeless people, starvation. Can't they focus on those really important issues instead of wasting money trying to propagate hatred? Aren't Christians suppose to love one another? I'm Catholic. I was told to love everyone. I don't recall Jesus ever saying, "Love one another unless he's different from you in which case hate him, burn him, cast him out!"

To those of you out there being abused, humiliated, lonely, afraid, struggling to make it through the teen years as a gay youth, my prayers go out to. As bad as it seems, your not the only one going through it, just look at all these columnists. Be strong, eventually it gets better (I know "eventually" is a very vague time frame).

That's all this month. If you would like to send me comments, I have a new email address: kiyotei@sprintmail.com

Peace,

Jim


[About the Author]


©1998 Oasis Magazine. All Rights Reserved.