In reading Holly’s blog post the other day, I realized that she was absolutely right when she called me a “rebel”. I’ve come to realize that rebel is a good description of who I am and who I always have been. I think I’ve finally become enough of a writer to put the years when I lived in the Boston area and wore a button very similar to the one pictured over my right breast for about ten years into the perspective of a difficult chapter in a story that while it was never a fairy tale, is ultimately a story of courage and winning and not the early brutal death that was foreshadowed in around chapter 8 or 9.
I’ve always been a writer and I’ve always been gay. I think I knew the first of these things around age 8 when I took first place in the 4th Grade English Essay Contest at elementary school. The second I’ve known since about age four when I saw a picture of a middle aged, hairy man– naked with the most remarkable twinkle in his eye that I spotted in a stack of old Playboys my father had not really hidden. Both of these things are intrinsic to who I really am. They are perhaps often more important things to know about me than my wallet name. Not that I am trying to hide behind a mask. Not any more so than any copy/paste social media rockstar whose cheerful face pic showing his handsomely well-shaved face that hides more secrets than Hades. I am all about being genuine and being me online. And smart enough to know that this hairy faggot will be better served most of the time by a bland, familiar image that I’ve worked very hard to make come to stand for my real world integrity.
I’m always trying to get clients to understand that while the advice they have been following is not actually WRONG (“your face picture should be your avatar Everywhere on social media”) it’s not actually applicable to your particular situation. Any third grader should know that double negatives are incorrect. As a precocious 4th grader I used just one (my teacher wrote in red pencil– ‘double neg– but it’s for effect +++’) and took home the top prize trophy. That I spent years talking to everyone I met about AIDS and gay rights does not make me feel as though I ‘wasted my years’. The fact that Ron and I could legally get married in June if we chose (we don’t) it seems to me is a pretty huge thing to take away from those rather difficult and challenging years.
And if parts of this post don’t make all that much sense to you, I can only urge you to stay tuned. Next year, after I have published 366 blog posts in every day of 2012 I’m going to edit those blog posts and some of those comments into a commercially successful book. Please, I beg you. KEEP READING. All plotlines WILL get neatly tied up and the catharsis on the last page will be HUGE. STAY TUNED!!
Alan Jobe is the author of Walking Down The Avenue and consults with #indie writers and entrepreneurs about social networking and self-publishing.