Saturday, 31 January 2009

Coming out of the closet

Today I have been teaching in the Goddess Temple all day, and during one of the long periods when my co-teacher was leading and the conversation was way beyond my limited Hungarian, I drifted off into reverie for a bit and remembered a walk I had last weekend in the Buda Hills. I meant to blog about it at the time but things got in the way. More accurately, my new relationship got in the way. Which has been something I have not written about before and yet it is a major part of my life. In fact, it has been central to my life for the last four weeks.

So I started to wonder why I have not mentioned it before. I am not normally reticent to talk about myself. On the contrary, I sometimes feel that I may be a little too self-revelatory and should adopt a more impersonal, objective, academic approach. And yet I have remained silent about this. I am not going to mention her name nor give any details for there is no reason to do so. So her privacy is, at least to those who do not know either of us personally, guaranteed.

No, the reason I have not written is more personal. And it is born from fear - the fear that the relationship will not last and so is better not mentioned. And that fear is born of many things but foremost among them is a deep-seated belief that I do not deserve love. One of the themes of this weekend's training is healing the wounds received in childhood. Which is where this fear was born. I am not going into the details here - for they are, in fact, irrelevant. The message I received was identical to the message so many people I know have received - or, at least, as near as damn-it identical. It is that there is, in my fundamental being, a wrongness and that eventually this wrongness will become evident and that the inevitable rejection - the "depart from me, thou cursed one, into the place prepared for you" will be pronounced and an eternity of alienation from the possibility of love would follow.

This script has been very active in my recent life. It was partly, although by no means totally, behind my move here. Again, details are not necessary but behaviour that, although wrong, would on any rational scale of seriousness rate very low became an occasion of shame so great that it came close to destroying me and was a cause of great pain elsewhere. Even today it reverberates and much of me would wish to turn back the clock and act otherwise. That this is impossible has been, and still is, something that grieves me greatly.

However, from all of it there have been gains. I have been able to delve deeper into myself and see myself more clearly - that I am simply human and fallible and do not have to apologise for that. I still act badly and selfishly at times and hurt others by that. For actions or inaction I will apologise. I will, however, no longer apologise for being me. For that I cannot change - I will be me until the day I die and, after that, who knows? In fact, the more fully I can become myself then the less I will hurt others for what I have learnt is that it is not so much what I do, nor who I am, that hurts but the lies and evasions I have used to try to hide who I am. Not least from myself.

For it is in the lies to myself that all the other lies have their genesis. In a recent email exchange in which I was talking of models for masculinity, I was asked why I had not mentioned Dionysus. And I hadn't. In fact, in all the posts on this blog there has been no mention of him. "The elephant in the room", I replied. To which the answer came "bloody big elephant". Bloody huge!.

For this is what has sent me running into hiding so often in my life. It is what I have tried to deny to myself and to others. For, warring with the Dionysian there has ever been an Apollonian overlay and I seem always to have oscillated between the orgiast and the intellectual - never being totally one nor the other but always an angry and frustrated being who felt torn between the two. I feel that I have long inhabited the no-man's-land between two armies in a war of attrition. A very uncomfortable place.

The thing is, I can be pretty good at the intellectual stuff. I really do enjoy it. I love playing with ideas and seeing where they lead. I loved, and still deeply miss, conversations in which I could share the delight I feel in such games -where mind met mind without, it seemed, any need for an interpreter. Or even, sometimes, a body. I do not have that here. Which is perhaps the reason I started blogging. For here, I always need an interpreter and this is slow. So I have been forced to write and hope that my words are received with understanding and, at times, appreciation. I will get better. All my life, I have spoken of wanting to write but - apart from University - have not really done so until I came here.

Which brings me back to my new relationship. This cannot involve playing with words and ideas for she speaks no English and I, as yet, very little Hungarian. This latter will have to, of course, be remedied for two of us scrabbling around in dictionaries makes even the simplest conversation - such as when to meet or what to eat - difficult (I exaggerate a little - my Hungarian can just about manage that - but not by much.) So for the communication of ideas there is still only writing here and elsewhere.

Which is not to say that the relationship is orgiastic - that would be one hell of an exaggeration - but it is largely non-verbal. And this is very new. Somehow, and I do not quite know how, we communicate. And in this communication where there are no words I fear that I misunderstand and misinterpret. And this feeds my deeper fear of ultimate rejection - that she is only with me because she does not know what I am and when she knows more will reject me.

So, I have kept the blog and my private life separate and not mentioned her. I have written of love but not mentioned those that I love now and those that I have loved in the past. Which is a form of lying - for by doing so I can omit to mention those many ways in which I have fallen short of the love they have held for me. I can paint myself in brighter colours and try to appear as someone who has reconciled the inner conflict between intellect and body. But this I have not previously been able to do because I have not dared to name Dionysus and to claim his kinship. I have written much about Inanna but little of Dumuzzi except to lightly mock him. This I will now begin to remedy. One of the things that I said today, in response to a question, was that I no longer feel the need to apologise for being a man and a sexual being. And I realised as I said it that it is the truth but it is also true that for the bulk of my life until very recently - perhaps yesterday, I don't know - I have felt an inner need to apologise - or hide. I am no longer willing to do so. Dionysus is coming out of the closet.


Movie Mystic said...

Nine words that doom a new relationship: I knew this was too good to be true.

Self-fulfilling prophecy, Priest. Mind your thoughts and mind the mirror.

Brian Charles said...

Thanks for the warning - I am aware of the danger and am not using those words. I am afraid, however, that cannot mind my thoughts for they simply arise as if from nowhere. Attempting to suppress them merely gives them more power. All I can do is to express them and then let them pass. Sure, they come again and again - but they will, in the end, leave - simply because they have become boring. Even the most persistent unwelcome guests eventually get the message.

sometimesfaithsometimesnot said...


I know EXACTLY what you are going through and all I can say is, kudos for honesty!! It takes guts, priesthood or no, to write of what must be written and not hidden. I too struggle with the Apollonian and Dionysian natures of myself. I offer my deepest blessings.

Reg said...

Brian, I speak as someone who has spent too much time "At icy altitudes" as Jonni Mitchell says.
The limits of rationality are only now becoming clear to me. Our reason is seductive because it appears to be quantifiable. This would work if we had access to all the information, and if we could process it impartially, when we can do neither of course.

Those of us whose pasts make emotional attachment and expression difficult, can easily pour scorn on "mere sentiment" as the sacharine gushing stuff of schmaltzy B movies - fine in its place but hardly a template for life.

Your chosen spiritual path and your new love, nnot primarily based on reason, have clearly given you a way out of your own mental maze. Your evident struggle and honesty give me encouragement in finding a way out of mine, having come to a relationship, as I thought, via rationality, only to find myself in an unfamiliar but much more exciting place.
Thank you


Haley @ Iridescent Dark said...

I admire you bravery and honesty.

I understand what you mean by not writing about it because your fear it will come to nothing. A few years ago, my boyfriend (now fiance) and I broke up (it lasted for a month, and we'd been going out for 4 years). It was one of the most devastating times of my life. But I didn't tell anyone (obviously some found out, but not by my telling). For me, this was born out of fear of confirming that which was most painful. And still when something goes wrong in my life I tend to keep it to myself.

I applaud your attempts at bringing your 'faults' into the light. This kind of self-scrutiny, although painful, will eventually lead to a deeper and fuller understanding of yourself and your life.

And I'm glad you realise you should never have to apologise for being yourself =). Good for you.

Best wishes x