“You’ve got to make peace with your own self first!”
These were the words which rang in my ears for almost six years and were the constant reminders and guide to attaining acceptance. I can’t fathom why and how it took me these many years to realize the immensity and importance of this word, ‘acceptance’.
It’s a long battle, a fairly long one I must say, struggling to make peace with yourself. It can be a daily adjustment. But it is difficult being a homosexual in a hostile environment and in a regressive society like today’s India.
As a closeted homosexual, I not only lost the ability to enjoy life as it came my way, but I lost the very meaning of living. The constant pretending – which is what I think it was, as now I can be objective about it – to enjoy so that a bunch of people can acknowledge myself as one of them, and sanction my place in their society.
I was acting up, behaving and falling-in-line with the expectations of the society. The society which had no place for homosexuals, the society which considers homosexuality an abomination. It sees homosexuality as a ‘cultural threat’, ‘a-Sanskriti-destroyer’ and ‘against the order of nature’.
Nature? Do they understand what nature means? Let me make it very clear at the very outset, they do not understand what ‘nature’ means, they just know how to exploit it. And that’s what it has done.
Natural laws are defined by nature, no government has the power and will never possess the strength to determine what should and shouldn’t be called nature. It’s not someone’s political agenda, which can be tweaked to please their vote bank. In no country and in no society, should an army of fascists, like a contemporary party in power, decide who should love whom, who can express their love to whom, who can wear what and so on.
To all those who hail homosexuality as against the order of nature, I want to learn from them – what do they understand about nature, sexuality, and homosexuality?
I bet they haven’t even explored their bodies – let’s not even touch on the ‘soul’ part. Their voyage to exploring bodies is limited to penetrating an orifice with a penis, any orifice, if I may add. That’s just mechanical to them, who do not know the depth of having a bodily connect with someone. It’s not just the bodies which collide with one another, rub with each other in that act. It’s the most sophisticated interplay of nature. It’s consuming nature in itself. You won’t understand it – for you there exist just a hole and a tool. A tool must fit the hole. After a few grunts, a liquid-splashes. Game over. That is how it is.
It sounds disgusting. Well, I had no qualms writing disgusting things. But truth, my darling, is disgusting.
Talking about truth, I have lived my life in half-truths. As I described in the beginning, the pretentious life I lived. Yes, it served me better, provided me with opportunities and took great care of me at times of distress. But I see now what damage these half-truths did to me. They detached me from myself. I forgot to accept myself. I forgot to even look myself in the eye and say, “Is it you?”, “Whom are you hiding and with what?” Time and again, these questions were thrown by my ‘wise’ self to myself. And I avoided them gracefully (read disgracefully).
So, what does it take to be accepted by oneself? And how does one even do that?
I pondered a lot over acceptance and this is what I found. Or rather, there was nothing to find – it is purely how I think it is. I’m not advocating it to be universal though.
Acceptance comes in three levels. It starts with the individual first, then comes family, followed by society. When you come out to the society you come out only to the unsecured strata, the hiders, the thieves, and the preservers of animosity.
But when you come out to yourself, it is a different game. You are out to the sun, to the stars, to the moon, to the fishes in the river, to birds with fluttering wings in the sky, to the stardust, to Halley’s comet, to the atom, to the sub-atomic cosmos and, in a nutshell, to nature itself.
Perhaps the fundamental question is, why should one do that – this accepting thing, coming out to oneself first? I mean, is there any need to do it? Or is it a fashion to ‘come out’? Or if you don’t ‘come out’, you’re a lesser gay than an already out gay individual?
The answer to these questions has nothing to do with being gay or straight, cis or trans. It has to do with being oneself and being true to oneself. These are not just phrases, this is the very thing which gives life meaning. A life lived on one’s own terms and with dignity. And this is why I feel that you should be the one who accepts yourself first.
It didn’t take me time to write that Facebook post, my shout-out to everyone that I’m gay, but it took me years to understand what that means, being ‘Gay’. In India, being gay is a difficult affair. I know times are hard, but they’ve never been easy. I know the situation is complex, you might be disowned, may become your family’s black sheep or may become an outcast in your friend circle. But why should you try to fit in? You are not here to fit into someone else’s idea of living. Be glad of who you are and what you are and question, “Whose acceptance am I seeking anyway?” And you’ll have all the answers you need. Period.