Friday, June 27, 2008

Not just a margin

For better or for worse, I'm coming here to feel sorry for myself. I'm that guy. The one that has everything when you look in from the outside. We've got the little family of four, the cute little house and dog, the great career and graduate program between the two of us, and all our health.

But I feel tormented far more than I have any right to feel, I suppose. But does one have to earn their torment? Or does its existence serve as automatic legitimization?

Today I feel on the margin of a margin of a margin. I'm in a minority field of medicine, often unappreciated. I'm in minority situation in my department. I'm a minority within the church in my understanding of gay related issues. I'm definitely in a minority among gays in my empathy for the church. Couldn't I, for once in my life, be surrounded by crowds of people that get me? Get it? Get anything?

Basically, today I feel like there's nobody that understands. Perhaps my wife, and that's it. And that makes me feel all the better that I have her and that I'm not in a different circumstance right now. And that makes me sad that so many other people don't or won't believe such a thing can happen. But then, can it? Or am I just an anomaly--an outlier there too?

It's as if I've spent a lot of effort trying to bridge gaps and shed light where people have closed themselves off, but in the process I've put myself too far into the minds of others and made myself inaccessible to my self. I haven't pulled off the insight I need to peacefully be at one with the majorities in every part of my life. I guess I don't know how to do it. Or, I need to humble myself to try something new.


Abelard Enigma said...

Couldn't I, for once in my life, be surrounded by crowds of people that get me?

No! You're an esteemed member of our virtual island of misfit toys. Nobody really understands us.

But, fwiw, I think I 'get you' - but then, I'm the little train with the square wheels.

btw, it's good to see you posting. I, for one, miss your words of wisdom.

Ron Schow said...

"It's as if I've spent a lot of effort trying to bridge gaps and shed light where people have closed themselves off,..."

Occasionally you and I seem to take different positions on an issue, but I want to say how valuable I feel your contribution has been in your effort to "bridge gaps." For years I wanted to be part of discussions where all those of good will within our LDS tradition would actually talk to each other on issues relating to SGA. I've made some efforts to promote that, but it has been tough sledding.

That is happening now, in part due to your efforts.

I too have my moments of feeling alone. I hope that this moment of your feeling "on the margin" will quickly pass.

MoHoHawaii said...

Hi -L-,

When you write a book, the first thing the publisher wants to know is which the section of the bookstore you intend your book to occupy. It turns out that people won't buy a book that doesn't fit into one of the known categories. They get confused and put the book down.

This behavior is also seen in the social realm. One's life is much, much easier socially if other people can pinpoint which of the known types of people you are. If they cannot figure out "which section of the bookstore" you are from, they will quit browsing.

This is infuriating. This is unfair. This shows petty conventional thinking. But it's the way people are wired.

I myself have had this problem in life. I don't know whether your experience will be like mine, but if it is your choices are to pick a box and stay there or adjust to a life of social isolation.

In any case, best of luck to you. Personally, I love breaking down categories, but then again I'm a social outcast. :- )

drex said...

A large part of what makes individuals part of a social minority is identifying as part of that minority. Who in the church singles you out for being in the minority? You do. Obviously you don't have much you can do to change being a minority at work, but does that really set you apart that much in terms of others identifying with you, or even you identifying with others?

I've often been the token Asian in my group of friends, but at the same time, I've never really felt that way. Being half-Asian and growing up in a predominantly white but very varied area of upstate New York, I came to appreciate what made me different while still identifying as white and interacting as if there were no difference, race-induced social-wise, between me and everyone else.

I guess that's ported over to being a 'minority' at church. While I appreciate what sets me apart, I still identify with the 'majority' and realize that there's more that makes us similar than that which makes us different. That way I curb my pride, because I'm not inherently better than anyone else, while also curbing my feeling of being targeted, or always deserving of others' sympathy, or whatever. But that's just me, and I know I'm pretty unique in that area. :P

playasinmar said...

On the bright side: at least your career allows for fantastic cash prizes.

So you could always gather up the family and mope over in Italy for a week or take a trip to Six Flags Magic Mountain.

-L- said...

Thanks for the kind words. I have to admit that I even feel misunderstood by our virtual island of misfit toys. But that may just be because I'm enjoying the victim role for the moment and it's a necessary part of that. :-)

Sean said...

I think that a lot of us have felt that nobody understands us and that we are so different than all the rest. It's true that we might be a little different in some aspects, but you have to remember that there are some many other aspects of our lives that connects us to others. If we focus on the differences, we feel alone, unhappy, depressed, etc., but if we focus on the similarities, we generally are happy and not lonely--at least that is the way it is for me.

I hope that this makes sense and that you start to feel less lonely.

It is also good to see you post again! I'm glad that you are! :)

Kengo Biddles said...

If we're on the island of misfit toys, does that make me a Charlie in the Box?

J G-W said...

Count yourself fortunate that you feel there is at least one person who truly understands you.

I feel loved, but not truly understood by my spouse; though I do feel both loved and deeply understood by my parents. (So I don't count myself among those unfortunates understood by no one!)

I can't say I'm in a position to fully understand the challenges of your life path. But I can say I love you!

Robert said...

Someone told me yesterday that they really liked you blog, but that you might be done posting. So I hopped on this morning and low and behold, you've posted. Sorry for the frustrations. You've got one community here that really understands you on those feelings...even if our situations aren't identical.

Perhaps, you're too spread out? You know, trying so hard to improve things all around and winding up over-applying yourself to the point that you're spread too thin to really change the flavor anywhere...then, you're not much good even to your inner-self?

Sometimes, I have to call off efforts that I've started cause I need to concentrate my energies in the places that are more important. I feel like a student sharing insight with a professor. Good luck in restoring your balance. I'm sure you realize that you've got a lot of people who really care...but it's really nice to see the love and support anyways.

Anonymous said...

well, you are not going to get any sympathy from me.
i've just returned from another overseas volunteer project; reading about developing nations doesn't do it; seeing these people face to face does.

i know you see the cancer patients with tragic stories that far outnumber the lance armstrongs, but they are just the tip of the iceberg.

i ask myself, why me? white american 21st century male--top of the pile, all the other additions, gender/ religious preference, bum knee (i really did want to run one more marathon), whatever, really don't mean much . but that's the way it is. i make my decisions and move on.

Hirkimer said...

Earlier I told Sam that I enjoyed her blog because it made me cry. The same goes for you. Even if our experiences are different our emotions are often the same. Its healing, somehow, to read and understand. I don't care what you blog, just blog.

Samantha said...

Consider yourself slapped! and then hugged.

You're that guy...I'm that woman. Who would ever guess what really goes on inside???

And if you're anything like me, you'll do whatever is in your power to convince anyone you encounter that life is amazing and wonderful, then go home and lick your wounds in private and (for me) online.

But I don't think you really want anything different. You once told me how intimidating it would be for you to be in the midst of other SSA guys--and really, who else can "get it"? "get you"? "get anything"?

By the way, I still believe you'll feel better if you'll join Jason and I when we go skydiving.

Oh...and we (Jason and I) get it...

Marty said...

Parker Palmer in his Courage to Teach talks about having to hold up paradoxes in our lives and to live IN them. As someone who is definitely SGA, but also someone who really enjoys feeling the peace of the Holy Ghost and the privilege of serving others, I have come to the conclusion that on occasion, LDS men get me. (OK, it's much easier here in NYC!) I also get that it's my choice as to what I want my life to look like. In the end, I reject the traditions of men and choose to seek the power of God. For that, to me, is the singularly most immportant reason for remaining a Latter Day Saint - to seek the power and then to learn to utilize it as best as possible. Do I feel alone most of the time? Yes. Have I learned to live in the paradox of standing for two seemingly contradictory energies? I'm getting there.

Mel said...

I think there are more of us out there that are square pegs. I relate, but not in the gay way.

I am bi-polar and also have the 'perfect life' Married in the temple to a sucessful husband (who has since left the church)and a stay at home mother of a happy, healthy 3 year old little boy.

I have a great and supportive family, a nice little group of adoring friends and yet . . .

I am currently suffering a huge 'crash' from a prolonged mania. Of course I get the advise to "pray and read the scriptures and you will get better." But it's not working.

My husband has been put through 'this' for well on 15 years now and is tired of it and can't deal with it, so I tread water on my own.

I love what Drex wrote and second his words, it looks as though you have a great support team here through your blog.

I don't pretend anymore that I'm always happy. I allow myself a few pity parties and lots of chocolate and in a couple of days, I put on my big girl pants (yes I am quite curvey) and say, "Bring it on!"

Good luck to you, I bet there are others who admire and depend on your strengths and want to aid you through these stinky parts of life!