Two Do’s and Two Don’ts to Begin Your Day
from the classic queer survival manual:
How to Survive Your
(Belhue Press, 1999)
by Perry Brass
1) Realize that only you can change things for yourself. Some change may consist of just opening yourself up to what is already inside you. Your therapist can’t do it—in fact, some therapists have an interest in keeping you unchanged (it’s called their hourly fee!). In the long run, your lover, your family, or your friends cannot bring about changes, either, although having their help along the way can be very important.
2) Realize that there are things about you that may not need changing, that may be authentically right for you. That the warm, loving, tender feelings you have inside are natural and beautiful. Those of us who remember the fabled 60s “love generation” now feel as if we are living through a bitter reaction to it: a period of open, even encouraged hostility and hatred. Even though these are the “cutting-edge” emotions that much of our commercialized culture (“gay culture” as well) spits back at us, that does not mean we have to buy this venom at market value.
1) Don’t make up rules that you can’t follow: “In my next relationship, I’m going to be monogamous.” “When I fall in love, it shall be forever!” “Any relationship after thirty has to be a serious relationship!” “I’ll never trust you or anyone else ever again.” These are the sort of rules that were thrust on you as a kid. You don’t need them.
2) Don’t allow other people to label or define you: “You can always tell gay people by the way they dress (or, that they like opera, love disco, or are flaky and have no integrity, etc.).” “You’re too old to feel that way!” “You’re too old (or young) for that kind of idea.” Tell all the labelers and definers to go do something ingenious with a rear part of their body.
Perry Brass’s newest book is Carnal Sacraments, A Historical Novel of the Future (Belhue Press), available for $16.95. It is available at LambdaRising.com, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other fine book outlets. He can be reached through http://www.perrybrass.com, or his email address: firstname.lastname@example.org