Thursday, June 30, 2011

I am a Rock

When I first saw this rock on Catalina Island, it screamed, "Blog Me!" Literally. Well, maybe not literally, perhaps it was the ocean crashing against it. But still, I saw its potential.

In the rock I saw life; life's layers, texture, resistance, and growth.

The rock, in its formation, remained strong, as rocks do. We see them as solid, sturdy, heavy. Yet, the outside forces of the earth eventually forced the rock to bend, ever so slightly and then violently upward, and yet, the rock still continued to remain strong and seemingly resistant. But the external forces did eventually win and the rock broke, ending up here on the Pacific side of Catalina.

As I go through this rebirth, I am also re-examining the layers in my life and bringing in my new found sense of self into them. I am a man, a teacher, a family member, a gay person, a friend. They run parallel to each other, and in some cases, crossover. When I plan lessons, I am a teacher; when I am working with students, I become a male teacher, ever conscious of the dangers of being alone with a student which doubles because I am gay. Some of my colleagues are also friends, so conversations can run between school and our personal lives. My friends have commented on the changes in me. I hope with the passing of summer I can put the added sense of me as a teacher and improve on my lesson planning and then beginning in September, in the actual delivery.

The different people I meet and the interests they bring add varied textures into my life. They have come into my life for a reason. And it is now up to me to discover why.

In my life I have been the rock. I have been resistant to the many outside forces pressing in on me. And I let them work me until I finally gave in and accepted the change. I resisted accepting my being gay for awhile, because God didn't make His followers gay. I resisted seeing the truth about my marriage for fear of admitting it had failed, or I had failed at it. Now, while I am not beckoning them to come and get me, I am finding myself a little less resistant to the forces of change; maybe still a little guarded, after all change is difficult and never comfortable. But without it, there is no growth. And while rocks don't 'grow,' they do change. They have no choice. They are inanimate. The forces of nature will eventually wear down this beautiful, solid rock, into millions and millions of grains of sand. Or this rock will go through its own cycle, converting it from one type of rock to another; from sedimentary to metamorphic or igneous, yet still remaining strong.

As I work through the sediment of my past, I am finding fossils buried deep within. Fossils of both pain and pride; fossils to pick up and examine for clues either to overcome or to celebrate in order to be able to move on. Fossils such as the abandonment issues of my parents' divorce, the loneliness I felt moving from school to school nearly every year, the fear of being called names or ostracized for being gay. And there are fossils of pride and strength: the strength of coming out, first, personally and then to my family and eventually my students; the strength of surviving a partner's death; the strength of past accomplishments; and the strength of just being where I am today in my life.

Rocks cannot resist change, as they are inanimate, but humans are sentient beings. We can choose to resist or accept change. Many of us resist. Perhaps because we are afraid of it and believe fear equals weakness. But, resistance to change should not equal weakness, for change can bring strength. I felt I was being strong because I was standing against the changes I faced, but it was actually fear. I was afraid of the unknown, afraid of being vulnerable. As I continue to mentally and emotionally process my divorce and adjust to a new life, I am finding myself growing stronger, and actually enjoying rediscovering myself, watching myself reawaken to who I once was and am now becoming again, though with the added wisdom of a few extra years. And as I contemplate my future with the Man Across the Bridge, I will change again, change to accommodate our lives together, not surrender my life to his. Because I am a rock, strong in the face of change.

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