I have no pride: A sombre reflection

I have no pride.

It’s Pride Week here. For me it’s the worst week of the year. An opened wound. I wake with chest pains, panic attacks. Always the same. No. The more I try to get involved the worse I feel.

I have been out for nearly twenty years, but I always feel out of place and alone during Pride.

And each year is more difficult. I have no pride.

I used to believe that it would get better. Then I believed that it didn’t matter. But it hasn’t gotten better. And it does matter.

Things have changed. I have changed.

Yet I’m not sure if the cost has not been too high.

I no longer know where I belong, my body and I.

 

Remember, Body

Body, remember not just how much you were loved,

not just the beds where you have lain,

but also those longings that so openly

glistened for you in the eyes,

and trembled in the voice—and some

chance obstacle arose and thwarted them.

Now that it’s all finally in the past.

it almost seems as if you gave yourself to

those longings, too—remember how

they glistened, in the eyes that looked at you,

how they trembled in the voice, for you;

            remember, body.

                              –C.P. Cavafy (tr. Daniel Mendelsohn)

 

16 thoughts on “I have no pride: A sombre reflection

  1. Oh Joe, I’ll tell you where you belong, you belong with your friends who are about you.
    For years I have had a private grief about my birthday. I haven’t celebrated it for decades now, but of course in our culture it can be really hard to escape. Even when I went to Russia to escape my 60th, as far from Australia as you can be, a smiling bellhop turned up at my hotel room door with champagne and a card – because of course they had my birthdate on my passport. I was devastated, and the poor man had no idea why.
    The point is, it’s just another day to get through, that’s all. Whatever the grief is, you deal with it on all the other days as well, and you must deal with it on this day that hurts if you let it.
    Lisa xo

    Liked by 1 person

      • No it doesn’t. It your own strength that makes it easier. Each year you can remember that you got through it before and will do so again, and that we your friends are by your side, from whatever distance divides us.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Wise words from Lisa. While I know it’s not always helpful for people to compare their own pain with yours I have a glimmering of how you feel. My dread is Mothers Day having lost my own when I was nineteen. Being surrounded by all that busy present buying and reminding each other to buy cards then having to explain why I’m not going home. I hope you get through it knowing that there are people thinking of you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Susan. The hardest part is trying to explain to my friends who are so excited why Pride events are so difficult for me. I do hope I don’t let the stress turn to bitterness.

      Like

      • Yes, I can understand that. I’d like to get to the stage where someone’s sexuality is irrelevant but I can see why there’s cause for celebration while openness is such a shiny new thing.

        Like

    • Thank you. I do know I’m not the only LGBTQ person to have complex or mixed feelings about Pride, but it seems more painful with each passing year. There seems to be so much attention on youth, but little to the very deep loneliness that exists in our community especially as we get older.

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      • I marched at Pride the first couple of years after I came out (in my 30s), and then I became completely disillusioned with the whole idea of “our community.” I concluded that no such entity really exists, and my partner and I have looked elsewhere for community in the two decades since. I feel sad about that sometimes, because there’s always a hunger to connect with others “like me.” And I love it when I do. But I don’t go to Pride.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m heartened to see so many people commenting here so warmly. I have only just discovered your small space in the ether, so I don’t feel as though I can offer anything that meaningful, not as your longtime and regular readers can. But, I am trying to not say nothing, when nothing is often the easiest route. So, I am reading your words and I know how much courage it takes to put them out there. And I do believe that it must be better to express one’s pain, whether through one’s own words or the sharing of another’s words, than to keep it all inside. I hope things become easier for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. I always feel self-conscious when I write personal posts so I try to edit myself closely—sometimes at the cost of being really honest about what I want to say (that why I followed this post up with another). It is part of my preparation and exploration of memoir writing, but it is also a necessary coping mechanism. I deeply value the responses I receive here and in email and DMs. The conversation helps me get to what is truly bothering me, but reminds me that others have struggled with similar concerns.

      Liked by 1 person

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