Navigating Life's Storms
A Gay Opinion 11/30/01
by R. A. Melos

There is so much more to being gay than sex. At least, that's what I tell myself during those moments of loneliness when I miss my former lover.

I tell myself sex is a small part of any relationship, and no relationship based on sex can last. Heterosexual society has gone to great lengths in proving me right. Sex, for some, is the easiest part, the most natural part, of the relationship. It is a place of common ground.

Unfortunately, if it is the only common ground, the relationship doesn't stand a snowball's chance in Hell. Nothing is going to be perfect long enough to sustain a long term relationship solely based on sexual attraction.

So there I am, looking at the divorce rate of heterosexual society, and thinking to myself "they won't even give me the chance to discover if it would work." And then I think, "what heterosexuals will or will not give me is irrelevant to what I make of what I have. I don't have to prove anything to anyone, and that's exactly what I've been trying to do."

I've been trying to prove my existence to myself, simply because a meaningless, and mean spirited, man used me to prove to himself he was in control of his life. He could have everything he wanted in life, and everyone and everything was at his beckoning, within reason.

That little proviso, "within reason," is where it all fell apart. He wanted his cake and to eat it too. He did, for a brief time, achieve this feat, but in the end he lost. I lost as well, as did all those touched by the situation. He lost because he didn't recognize a good thing when he had it, and I lost because I short changed myself by settling for the first safe harbor I came across.

Life makes us stronger by battering us with emotionally stormy weather, but it's how we weather the storm which determines our abilities. Perhaps that's why the illusion of safety in a relationship is so comforting and so much in demand. But then, the illusion of safety in all aspects of life is merely that, a momentarily safe harbor we pull into in hopes of a few seconds of comfort, pleasure and shelter from the storms of life.

So I found my safe harbor to be less than perfect. So what?

Perfection is as much of an illusion as safety. I can honestly say I conned myself into seeing perfection where none existed. I put my honest self out there, and was thrown into a hurricane of emotions for which I was unprepared. Part of being unprepared was my own fault, my arrogance of believing I could navigate life's storms to a safe harbor so swiftly.

Trust and belief in someone other than myself is something I gave readily. It wasn't earned, but freely given. Sometimes risks must be taken to discover new ways and new worlds. I discovered both, but haven't put into practice, yet, these life lessons. I feel they are incomplete.

Life has taken on a skewed appearance of a scavenger hunt. Each lesson gives me one more piece of the puzzle, which will eventually lead me to the grand prize. The problem is, the grand prize is the realization there is NO grand prize. The real prize lies in the comprehension of those pieces of the puzzle.

So the more people change, do they really stay the same?

I know I've changed, but so much of my life doesn't reflect the changes within me. Perhaps the internal changes are the important changes, and the external changes are the superficial changes?

Maybe this is where societal training fails us, because so much of society focuses on the superficial?

A sexual act has more importance than the emotions surrounding the act, yet when you have both the act and emotion sharing the spotlight of importance, everything clicks. Or, so I am told.

So can a moment of clicking be prolonged into a lifetime?

Yes, in the sense you do more in that moment than most people do in a lifetime.

So much has been over simplified in life, I feel it's time to embrace the complexities life has to offer. The next trick is learning when those complexities are obviously simple.

There is more to being gay than sex, just as there is more to being straight than sex. We all just have to take the time to understand each other.