Thursday, June 23, 2005

The Power of Truth

Since the time I was a small child I have heard the cliché that the truth will set you free. More and more over the past few weeks, I have learned that the power of unleashing the truth goes far beyond what it can do for me, or just any one person. The power of the truth not only sets me free but it has the ability to set others free as well. Randomly I have been speaking truths about my personal experiences with friends over the past few weeks that I have not often or have never shared with anyone. What a feeling it was to finally say – this is what it is and this is who I am. That feeling tremendous feeling followed by the affirmation that my truth was also someone else’s truth is even more awesome and powerful.

Last night I talked to one of my good friends about cruising. The subject to most folks is so taboo and people for fear and shame won’t admit that they ever have or still do lurk behind bushes, trees, bathroom stalls and statues to be touched in the dark trying to get that feeling that they haven’t been offered or can’t offer anyone else in the light. At first I was very hesitant to share my experiences. Yes, I have done it. I can’t say that it is something that I am proud of but it is true. It is a truth about my life and I’d venture to say the evolution of my sexuality. Cruising is certainly one of the least discussed parts of Black gay male socialization. The stigma attached to it prevents most people from saying that they have done it or do it. When I admitted to my friend that I have done it and he and I then shared stories about it – the stigma was gone. I wasn’t embarrassed anymore. We were able to talk about the physical experiences we had as well as delve deeper and talk about why we used to do it. We talked about the silence that exist around it.

Yesterday, I read a blog that talked about aging. He shared his legitimate fears of being a Black gay man that would grow old alone. His truth. My truth. It is the truth of so many but again, most would never admit it. The first time I admitted it to AQueer I rushed to say it, trying to peel off the words quickly like a band-aid – the faster I do it the less pain it would be. I don’t like to admit that I am ever afraid. So when I admitted to him that was truly one of my biggest fears I was afraid. I am so happy I freed myself from that fear. AQueer looked at me and we had the most wonderful conversation for hours about our fear of growing old alone. We have few models of Black male relationships with significant longevity and even in both our homes growing up we had few models of male/female relationships that seemed to last a lifetime. One of my best buddies in NYC and I have discussed numerous times the same fear since then. I am no longer afraid to speak that truth. I have one less fear. I am stronger.

Truth will set us free.