Fear

I’m afraid.

I’m afraid to go home. I still haven’t figured out how to be gay and be part of my family. I keep crying when I hear my father’s voice on the night I came out. He asked me, his own voice full of fear, not to let this be a reason to not see my family.

I don’t want it to come between us. And yet, when I took down the wall of lies I’d built for years, another wall went straight up. A wall of difference. That night, I told them that I wasn’t just the black sheep of the family, I was a black camel.

People tell coming out stories. They rarely tell the stories of the aftermath. I was talking to one person who said that, in her experience, the big gay elephant in the room will eventually get smaller. Is that what I want?

I was talking to someone else about the aftermath of coming out. His Dad refuses to come to his birthday party because his boyfriend will be there. Eight years after he came out. That’s not what I want. And yet, I can’t see any way in which future imaginary boyfriends would ever fit into my family. Not that that’s a worry for the near future.

I just have to feel the fear and do it anyway. I’ll go home at the bank holiday weekend.

I’m afraid about the two chapters I’m meant to hand in on Wednesday for my stupid continuation interview. I haven’t written a word since my last post. At which time I hadn’t written a word for a week. I’m paralysed by fear. I’m not sure of what. I’ve described my awful history with academic deadlines here before. I remember preparing for my entrance exam to secondary school when I was 12. I used to do practice exams at home. Except I didn’t. Because I used to freeze and cry instead. My parents were very kind, but couldn’t understand what was wrong. And here I am, nineteen years later and doing exactly the same thing.

Mind you, I came top of the class in that entrance exam, so freezing up and crying isn’t necessarily the worst form of preparation.

I’m afraid of June. The boys will be gone. I’ll probably be living alone again. When I think back to how afraid I was of the boys when I first moved here, and now I’m afraid of being without them. I had starved myself of male company for so long before this year. I didn’t know I knew how to be with men. And these boys showed me that I can do it.

And I’m afraid because I know we move on. I’ve “moved on” enough times in my life to know that the boys will change, and that I will change and that whatever fondness we have for each other will change. I’m going to have to be an adult about this, however little I want to be.

I’m also afraid that moving into a new place, whether it’s alone or with people, will mean I will have to deal with food again. I have more or less avoided eating with people since I moved here. I’m going to have to be a normal person again. I’m going to have to have milk in the fridge and bread in the cupboard. It’s what’s expected. The boys no doubt thought it was weird that I didn’t use the kitchen, but they accepted it and I didn’t have to deal with as much food guilt as usual. The vast majority of my eating so far this year has taken place on Nassau Street as I walked from Spar to the Arts Block in Trinity College, or as I walked from Spar to the bus stop, or as I walked from Spar to work on Dawson Street.

I’m afraid of lots of things. And I realise what a basketcase all this makes me sound.

But I’m hopeful too. I’m going to get up early tomorrow. I’m going to start the day with a run. Hopefully between writing this post and running I’ll have got some of this crap and fear out of my system.

Then I’m going into town. I’m going to do a few errands. I’m going to do five or six hours of good PhD work and then I’m going to work, where I know I’ll do a good job.

Tonight I’m afraid, but tomorrow is another chance for ordinary glory.

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