Gifts come in all shapes and sizes, and those we are given at birth, by the universe, are very precious. Once we comprehend the value of our own personal gifts, we can share them with the world.

The Gift
A Gay Opinion 4/03/01
By R.A. Melos

As I lay on my waterbed, listening to Beth Nielsen Chapman and Paul Carrack sing 'In The Time It Takes' for the umpteenth time, glancing in the mirror at the reflection of my cream colored Chow Chow, Zeus, lying on the bed next to me, sleeping peacefully, I experienced a rare moment of complete universal contentment.

These moments are few, far between, and very fleeting. Zeus sat up, yawned and jumped off the bed, and I was back in the present.

Like some universal miracle, I was granted that moment of complete contentment, as a karmic reminder of the greater debt I owe the universe. I'm talking about the debt I owe for the gift of my homosexuality.

My homosexuality was wrapped in a neat little box and placed in a closet for the first few years of my life, and then it was opened and acknowledged by me, and stored on a back shelf until it was pulled from the closet and carelessly thrown out on the coffee table by a cruel individual hoping I would be embarrassed by it, like an ugly scarf, from a relative, I never want to wear but can't throw out, for all the world to see.

Instead, I was old enough to comprehend the beautiful complexity of this gift and the joy it can bring by acknowledging it as such. Instead of cowardly denying the precious gift of self acceptance, I embraced it. I wasn't aware, at the time, by embracing this precious gift I was also receiving all the painful and bittersweet memories which went into the making of this gift. I wasn't prepared to remember every hurt or slight, which were so cruelly delivered, with much malice, by my peers during the course of my lifetime.

When I took this gift out of its box the first time, it was in secret. It was something I wasn't prepared for, but I looked it over much like you would look at a fondue pot, acknowledged it with a thank you to the universe and a silent thought of "Now what in the hell am I going to do with this?" knowing I would rewrap it and put it back into the closet until I had a use for it.

The next time I opened my gift I was 30 years-old, and I had a use for it, wearing it under a long trench coat, only letting it be seen by a select few. Now I wear it with pride, and display it for all to see, but it wouldn't be anything without the hurts and slights which went into its making.

The memories of past hurts haunt me like shadows in dreams, vividly shimmering in such a bizarre manner their real beauty reflects through. I wasn't prepared to remember each time I was called a faggot, fag, or queer, or each physical abuse I suffered at the hands of my peers because I was "different", but that is the price for accepting this gift. It isn't something which springs up over night and blossoms into a thing of beauty.

No, there is a growing process to accepting the gift of self, and many aren't emotionally equipped to handle it. Many escape it in delusion, drugs, drink, and denial, but the gift always rewraps itself and patiently awaits the next inevitable unwrapping.

I chose not to rewrap the gift of myself once it had been mistreated yet again, because I somehow knew just how important it was for me to stop hiding the beauty of this gift and display it for the world to see.

Oh, I know, like any work of art, the beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And, sadly, some will never see the beauty of this gift, because they are denying their own gifts. It doesn't matter if some don't see the beauty of this gift, because a few will see it for its intrinsic beauty and they will allow my gift, forged by the cruelty of my peers verbal and physical abuses, to introduce them to their gifts of acceptance and tolerance.

Some of these self gifts will be similar to my own, and others will be vastly different revelations, but all will have the one common element of truth. Another of their common elements will be the kiln in which their gifts were forged; society, and their peers, helped in the forging of each individual's personal gift of true self.

My repayment, to society and my peers, for the forging of my gift, for the honing of my natural born self, is the acceptance of myself, my gift, and the way in which I use my gift as a reminder to all I'm an individual deserving the respect and equality afforded all by the grace of the universe.

My gift to all like me, and those harboring their own closeted gifts, whether their gifts be homosexuality or some other precious element which will make them whole, is to let them know they are not alone. My repayment for my gift is to give to those who forged it, through their own ignorance and closed mindedness, the opportunity to see it emerge in the light of day and be used with pride to show others the joys of accepting their own individual gifts.

My repayment for my gift is not to forgive and forget the hurts and slights which forged my gift, but to embrace the memory of those hurts, those slights, and share those memories with others so they may take comfort in the knowledge their gift is just as important as mine, and they may show off their gifts in a similar manner.

My gift to those who forged me, with words and actions of hate, is to stand up and show them I'm here and not cowering in fear of their words or actions, because the gift of my homosexuality is only one element which makes up a greater gift of myself. And, by acknowledging all aspects of my gift, I acknowledge the truth of my peers cruelty, and by acknowledging the cruelty, openly and honestly, I may prevent similar cruelties form being perpetrated upon others.

By wearing the gift of my homosexuality and acknowledging past cruelties perpetrated upon me, my truth will allow others to see another layer of my soul. When enough of my soul is exposed, and enough of the other souls like me, which have undergone similar cruelties to create their own gifts, are exposed, perhaps the cruelties will stop, and the gifts won't spend years being closeted. Perhaps the gifts will take new shapes and the truths will not be scathing, and the wrappings will come off in a celebration instead of the sometimes painful ways of the past.

Maybe then, love will heal the souls.


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