Wednesday, 19 June 2013

On the Ropes OR Beware, Playing Dirty

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R._N._Taber

I am no extravert. Indeed, there was a time when I was a near nervous wreck for having to go our there and meet people. But every stranger is a potential friend, and that's a good way of thinking to get into.

There was a time, too, when I was more than a little paranoid and thought everyone was looking at me, talking about me, judging me...and not only for my sexuality, but how I look, dress...everything about me. Yet, as my dear, late mother once pointed out (but I ignored at the time)...even if that were true, all the while they are having a go at me, they are leaving someone else alone. So I (eventually) managed to substitute paranoia with a sense of stoicism which, in turn, gradually metamorphosed into a growing self-confidence. 

I once commented to a young man buying drinks in a gay bar (it could have been anywhere, of course) that I admired his self-confidence, He laughed, “Me, self- confident? Don’t you believe it, mate. It’s all an act.” He winked and gave me this advice as he went to join his boyfriend, “Try it and see.” So I did, and it worked.

Oh, I never found the degree of self-confidence that young man exuded, but at least I was on track for getting a life. Besides, regarding my sexuality at least, it was the kind of life I really wanted for myself, not the one I had been made to feel for years that I should want. 

Self-confidence and faith in a sense of our own personal identity is a lesson I suspect many of us would do well to learn, gay or straight, male or female, whatever our socio-cultural-religious background.  Sexuality, for example, is only part of the human equation, an equation that can add up to a prize fight in more ways than one...but worth it (surely?) to establish who we are, not only to others, but more importantly to ourselves.


ON THE ROPES or BEWARE, PLAYING DIRTY

I am with you in sickness
and health, especially in early hours
as you toss and turn,
fretting over a seemingly huge gulf
between early ambition
and later achievement in a mind’s eye
whose vision blurred
by lack of sleep and paying attention
to speculation and gossip

I will seize upon your senses,
throw them into chaos like martyrs
thrown to lions
and torn to pieces for the satisfaction
of a cheering audience
only, on this occasion an audience
of but one, reduced to tears
by the frustration of feeling helpless
to effect a rescue

I have all the tools of torture
required to force you to admit flaws
in judgments made,
paths of action chosen for fear
of what might happen
if no choice made at all, when perhaps
it may have been wiser
to reassign the Devil to hindmost
than imagine the worst

Call me Doubt, and be sure I’ll play dirty
with anyone picking a fight with me

Copyright R. N. Taber 2010

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