Eric Wahl

June 1998

Well, I didn't write last month because I was knee-deep in thesis work. At last, it's all done, I had my defense, I passed, I'm done. I've graded all my students' last papers and figured final grades. Today I cleaned out my office desk. Times like this should make me melancholy -- things changing, people moving on. But I'm not melancholy, which takes even me by surprise.

I guess change is easier when you have an idea of where you're going. That's something I had to learn over time, too. Never would have accepted that in my teens (mainly because I had no idea where I was going). Now I'm leaving Kansas for the great Northwest where I know no one. This would have scared the me I was two years ago, even, but it doesn't now. I worked hard for something and got it. "So what?" you say. "What does that have to do with anything this magazine is about?"

Dealing with the flux in our lives can be rough -- even worrying about changes that might happen. Moving to a new place. Being the new person. Or letting people know who you are. All these things require some degree of personal strength to be coped with. But I've learned, I think, that if coping with change (or fear of change) is too tough for you at one time in your life, it may not be at another time. Don't force yourself into uneasy timetables.

See, life drags on for us for some clever reasons (does life have reasons?): if we aren't truly hopeless beings, we learn about ourselves and others over time. Maybe you're a worldly, super-mature 15-year old. If so, that's great. I wasn't. I'm 28 and just getting things figured out. But that's not terrible -- I've accepted that we are not all on some timetable for getting things right. Hope I'm not being cryptic -- I'm trying to address a few things people have e-mailed me about. Shelley said it right: "Naught may endure but mutability." This is the time of year for change. Nostalgia is nice to keep in your pocket, too, though.

I prefer to remember the lone funny episode of "Ellen." Her coming out show was ground-breaking, indeed, but I, for one, won't miss the show. Sorry if that's irritating. Watching her final episode tonight was joyless. I saw then and there exactly why the show got the boot -- nothing at all to do with her sexuality, I'm afraid.

I leave this essay wishing all your changes go smoothly. I had two more students come out to me just as the semester ended. Here. In Kansas. Don't even give me that "ten-percent or less" crap! I hope they pick up in Oasis where I now leave off. I don't fear for the future of Queer . . .


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