Month: May 2010

The reunion…

It’s Sunday morning. Day one of “I-reclaimed-my-power-after-eating-average-food-and-drinking-bad-wine-with-boys-I-went-to-school-with-20-years-ago” and I’m still in bed catching up on all my blog reading. FJ is in bed next to me, also on the computer. He’s always been the music buff in our relationship. He scoffs when I, ahem, bust-a-move to Britney in the lounge or strike a pose when I crank the Queen up. But now, I have decided to “out” this music buff. He may fool you into thinking he’s the headboy of house but right now he has no one other than the crown princess of pop blaring away. He’s attempting to explain her use of soul and funk, but the truth is, he’s become a Lady Gaga fan. I think he may actually be turning into a gay man…

So much has changed since “I-reclaimed-my-power-after-eating-average-food-and-drinking-bad-wine-with-boys-I-went-to-school-with-20-years-ago”.

So onto the reunion.

Two friends who were in the same year as I was decided to meet for a drink before the reunion so we could mentally prepare ourselves for an evening with our former classmates and teachers. I was manic and couldn’t stop talking while they both sat watching me talk about Lord knows what with a slight lack of colour in their faces. We drove to our old school all waiting for one of us to veer off and head home rather than facing the pack. But, we did it.

I spent four hours in the old school hall listening to speeches about why I should give money to the school to make it even better than it is today and watched a powerpoint presentation where I actually even featured every now and then. Seems something I did at school was worth their attention.

Let’s just say, after an evening with the boys, I realise how much I have benefited in being a gay man. Moisturising since I could walk on my own has had it’s advantages it seems. I was told by the then-first team rugby captain that I was the only guy who looked exactly as I did 20 years ago. His exact words were: “Sho you shommer look the shame as you did in shcool.” He then tried to say my surname and dribbled a bit on my shoulder.

I screamed internally but decided to take the compliment. I think that’s the nicest thing a rugby captain has ever said to me.

After smearing myself with anti-bacterial wipes (I came armed) I tucked into the creamed cauliflower and butternut and sipped on the vinegar with alcohol and caught up on everyone’s news. One guy lives in the estate I do. We made no plans to meet. I shook a lot of hands and thanked God that some of these rather large, bald-headed men were wearing name tags so
I could vaguely place them as ex-classmates. I was deeply grateful that i never sat near the back of the hall (seems things never change – the F-class were camped at the back) as the alcoholic boys with their bloated faces and red sheened cheeks got louder and crasser and attempted to regale the hall by shouting about how many classes they had bunked while at the school.

That all said, I loved reconnecting with a teacher I was incredibly close to at school and remained friends with afterwards. I loved reconnecting with the friends I loved back then in the same hall we used to sit in day in and day out. And, most of all, I loved the fact that I was no longer scared. Back then, these guys were so important. Their validation was all I craved. 20 years down the line I realised that they held no power. That what they thought about me was actually rather meaningless. That who I am is not based on their perception of me. That I’ve come a long way since then. Standing tall and proud -with no shame or excuse to proclaim that I am who I am.

And then I left.

Before dessert.

Without saying goodbye.

I had done what I needed to do and wish them all the best.

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So much of … panic

If I was a tranquiliser kinda-guy, I would be popping a few right now. But, alas, I’m not. So I’ll just allow the shudders of panic to flow through me as I pretend that all is well in ramblerland.

I have reason for the panic. I’m not a panic-attack kinda-guy – and don’t get random attacks of spontaneous terror for things like not being able to find a parking bay. Panic is only induced by the really serious stuff. Like having flu symptoms after being in a Malaria area. Well, let me be honest, that creates concern rather than panic.

Having malaria symptoms means having to have blood tests, which means a needle piercing through my tender skin and flesh. that induces mild terror.

Waiting to find out if I have parasites partying in my liver. Frenzied fear.

But I have more than this to warrant my hair falling out en masse. And believe me, I’m desperately trying to hold onto every strand (on my head, that is).

Saturday 29 May is the reason.

When 80 boys who matriculated with me will reunite to see how much more successful the one is than the other, to brag about the children they have, and lament the loss of their looks and/or hair.

Saturday 29 May is my 20-year high-school reunion.

And I’m going.

I’ve spent the last week asking myself why I’m putting myself through this. There’s every reason not to go. I speak to three people from my high-school 20 years since we were forced to spend our week days together. And one of those is a teacher. The other two are friends that I only recently reunited with.

So why the hell do I want to spend an evening (in suit and tie…. again) chatting about my life. Now let me put you in the picture here…

I went to a boy’s school. One of the oldest in the country with a wonderful sporting history. For those of you who know me, the word ‘sporting’ immediately explained why I, the drama kid who loved choir practice and the library at break, feel terror at the thought of going back. Let me put you in the picture even further… I have an ex-Springbok rugby player who matriculated with me and the ex-Springbok rugby coach was my housemaster (I was in boarding school) for five years.

I played rugby once. I ran away from the ball every time someone threw it to me.

I played cricket but throw like a girl, so whenever the ball came near me I would run and pick it up and throw underhand towards the sticks that were put in the ground. It would land about two metres in front of me so I would have to run and fetch it and repeat the ordeal until I was at the sticks. By this stage the people with the bats were back in the change rooms telling people about the turd trying to throw.

I tried waterpolo but had to hang onto the side of the pool whenever the umpire wasn’t looking because it was all too exhausting for me.

So now, 20 years down the line, I’m off to remember the good ol’ days.

And remember that these boys are pretty much the reason why I feel like I don’t fit in at the best of times. Why I’m very aware that men have the potential to hurt you if they perceive you as different. And that being a gay man is distinctly different – even if it’s merely suspected.

That’s why I will go back. To reclaim my lost power. To stand tall and say that I deserve to be in that room as much as they do. That I too am married, just to a man. But that I am no different to any boy who sat in those classrooms.

I just hope like hell they don’t decide to play a quick game on the top fields…

Post-mayhem blues

Sheesh, can 2010 be any more manic? New job, marriage, Madagascar, World Cup, exams, Britney being the most followed on Twitter – a boy can only handle so much excitement. Suffice to say, my time has been totally consumed. I’ve spent the last month walking around in a daze of euphoria – in love, content and grateful.

I know I have much to catch up on. I’ll do seperate posts about the wedding and honeymoon. They deserve many, many pictures (and the odd video?) but for now, I have to say how grateful I am for those who embraced two men getting married so easily and showered us with so much love. We couldn’t invite everyone to the wedding – in fact, by many standards the gathering was tiny – but the amount of love and congratulations we have received through the many social media sites and elsewhere has been incredible.

It’s nice to know that people can be happy for you, even if they can’t reconcile what you are doing with their truths. Allowing people to live in their truth, even when it’s not your own, is a great gift to give someone.

I am especially grateful when I look at what’s happening in Malawi. My heart aches for the two men who bravely stood up to their laws and received the severest penalty they could receive. As an African I am embarrassed. As a human I am outraged. As a gay man I am distressed.

I’m not sure how I can be a part of stopping this kind of abuse in Africa. I’m not sure how I can stop lesbians from being murdered in my own country. All I know is I can’t be silent. And I hope many more stand up to be heard so that action can follow. I believe in dialogue, always will. And I believe in humanising what others see as a “type”. A tiny attempt at militance in a battle that’s fueled by ignorant beliefs and religious self-righteousness.

So, with that in mind, I realise we live in an incredible country. I do not take being married to FJ for granted, and am extremely grateful to those who fought before me so I could express my love for a man openly and without harm.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnyyyywaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyy…

I’ll post pics of the wedding and Madagascar soon. There’s even a pic of FJ in a speedo that I know you’ll enjoy…