A week ago, a friend mentioned KitoDiaries. I read a few blog entries on the site. I found particular interest in an entry titled “Question: to marry or not to marry”. It dealt with the struggle most young gay men face in the context of traditional marriage.
I am one of those who gives little thought to marriage. It’s one of the motives that fueled my coming out to the people I cared about. I wanted to poke the imaginative bubble that hung over their heads. The bubble that fed them the notion that I had a girl. Or, would, one day, bring one home.
Did I succeed in bursting the bubbles?
I am unsure. Some people believe in miracles.
I once walked into my room. A friend of a friend laid on my bed. He spat sharp whispers into his cell phone. He was unperturbed that I had walked into the room; I could tell because the intensity and loudness of his whispers remained unchanged. He kept professing his love for someone to the person on the phone. He said things like “he knows I love him” with a growing exasperation.
The phone call made sense to me. I knew this person was to get married in the coming weekend to a woman. Though we didn’t share details of our lives with one another, I could tell from the way he pursed his lips, swayed his hips and batted his eyelashes that he and I had a similar preference for men. My conclusion on the matter remained unresolved until this moment in the room. My hands fuddled with clothes in the wardrobe while my ears, which had the better portion of my mind, captured the vocal signature of my guest, filtering out everything else and leaving my mind to decipher what needed to be deciphered.
After a while, I decided I had heard enough. I motioned to walk out of the room and ended upon a couch in the sitting room. I felt sadness and anger at the same time. The emotions didn’t co-exist. They took turns. Sadness came when I thought of being in my friend’s shoe; how society could make me contort in ill suited ways. Anger came when I thought of my friend as separate from myself; how he was making himself do what he didn’t want to do. It was difficult to make out who deserved the anger I felt, he or society.
As we shook hands and said goodbye. I got a glimpse of his soul through his eyes. There was tiredness in his eyes. A helplessness in his soul. But his smile was wide and the gap that separated his two front teeth made it hard for me to stay angry. When I inquired about the tiredness in his eyes, he said he had been ‘running around doing things’. I imagined the stress that came from trying to balance two worlds. To keep them separate from one another.
I heard a woman we both know say “I’m so happy for him” about his marriage. She nodded in agreement when she heard her husband respond with “look at what he is making of himself, he turning into such a fine young man”.
“A fine young mind lying to your ignorant ass faces” was the first thing that entered my mind.
It’s common creed that honesty is the best policy but one does not have to live very long in the world to notice that liars prosper.
Marriage is a social construct. That means, once upon a time, it was constructed. Immense benefits comes to the man who uses a portion of his time to hone his ability to examine, deconstruct and reconstruct concepts that affects his life. In so doing, he is able to see where what fits and what doesn’t. So that he is able to lead his life in a way that preserves him and the things he cares about. In most cases, this brings discomfort.
Most of us confuse wellbeing and comfort. The truth is an amount of discomfort is required to bring about the kind of wellbeing most of us crave.
So, if marriage will make you happy, you may have to go through the discomfort that comes with telling your mother that, as a man, the person who would bring you happiness, whom you want to share the rest of your life with is a man. It’s in your power to tell the world how to treat you. Show it how to treat you.
Some people do this by shouting it over the roofs, wearing high heels and damning the consequences. Others stay in the privacy of their homes and talk to the important few. What is important is that we do something. Anything that will bring us closer to what it is we want. The problem is that knowing what we want can be difficult.
We want to be happy. We want those around us to be happy as well. Most times, marrying the two wants can be next to impossible. It best to pick what we hold dearest (in most cases, it’s the person we see when we look into a mirror). Chances are, if that is done, the other would take care of itself. Point to the man who does a good job of pleasing everybody, and you may be pointing to an unhappy man.
I empathize with people struggling with the question: to marry or not to marry. Some times this empathy is a less suited well-meaning sympathy. At the end of the day, most of the knowledge we have are of concepts handed down to us. Our ability to scrutinize these concepts, shake them for their essence, is what will lead us to the right answer to the question: to marry or not to marry.
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What are the experience you face when it comes to marriage? Please share in the comments.