Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Closet

One week after I came out to K, I had an experience that truly jumpstarted the process of liberation from the closet for me. I wrote about it a day later and just came across it again. I decided that it was worthy of posting on the blog.

September 26, 2005

Yesterday morning, I got up with my family and made all three of my girls breakfast. Bacon, eggs and waffles. K had decided to take the girlies to church. It's important for her to work out her feelings toward the church, and she doesn't think that just walking away from it is necessarily the right approach for her at this point. She wants to know if she can still feel anything there. She's done with the dogma, but she needs to know if there is anything still there for her. I understand that. I am grateful, however, that she has no problem leaving me behind at home.

In fact, we've decided that 10:00 to 1:00 on Sundays will be devoted exclusively to spiritual renewal for our family. Sometimes we'll be together for that. Sometimes we won't. But during those three hours on Sunday, we'll work on communing with God, whatever he/she is. For my spriritual renewal yesterday, I destroyed a closet.

We are about to finish our attic. But before we can do that, we have to remove an ugly old closet that was built many years ago just off of the one finished room up there.

I sent the girls off to church then went across the street to borrow a sledgehammer and crow bar from our neighbors. I went upstairs and browsed my iTunes library for some appropriate demolition music. I couldn't find any, so I browsed the Apple Music Store and bought four Def Leppard songs: Tear It Down, Demolition Man, Make Love Like a Man and Rock Rock Til you Drop.

I cleared the area around that closet. I took off my shirt. I put on some safety glasses. I turned the music on and played it LOUD. These are the words that I was listening to:

Tear it down
There's got to be a better way
Tear it down
I can't wait another day
Tear it down

With Def Leppard screaming in the background, I took the sledgehammer and beat the living shit out of that closet. I cursed at it. I yelled at it. I told it that I hated it for what it had done to me, and to K, and to my kids, and to gay men like me everywhere. I cursed that damn closet like I've never cursed anything in my life.

This is what it looked like when I was finished.

And the funny thing about this closet... it had a fairly strong wooden frame, but it was mostly just particle board held together by a few nails. It looked stronger than that to me when I started. But it came down easily and quickly. I thought the job of demolishing the closet would be much more daunting.

I cleaned up the debris after I took the closet down. I put the wood in one pile, the particle board in another, and the hardware in another. Then I took the crowbar and got rid of the last vestiges. I did not want there to be any signs of this closet once I was finished. I swept up when I was finished. And the attic seemed clean and bright.

I sat down and rested for a minute, then changed the music on the iPod. I put on the song that has become our hymn over the past few days, The Sun Song by Michael Tolcher. I walked to the space where the closet had stood. I turned the music up loud. And I danced on that spot. I danced and twirled and sang as loud as I could. I cried. Tears streamed down my face as I celebrated that open space and listened to these words:

One more beginning for as long as it lasts
A new day for the living all forgiving of the past
A heavy foot steps to the dark unknown
This is a mystery
No security of home

Here comes the sun
Over my head
Show me a path and I'll be led
Walking alone
I'm not afraid
I have my wings to fly away

When K came home I took her upstairs and showed her that open space where the closet once was. I showed her the pictures I took of the closet and its destruction. I gave her a hug and cried on her shoulder for a minute and told her what a nice time I had at church that morning.


Elbow said...

Amazing. Your ability to parallel meaning is from outside sources to your own intimate realities is inspiring.
I have to tell you that I'm a little jealous. You are in a good place, I know you've come from a hard journey, but your path is set in sunlight and it looks glorious.

I love reading what you have to say. Thank you for being an example of integrity. I always appreciate your voice.

A Troll At Sea said...

Love the story, but the real story is in the last picture...
Way to go.
Hang in there.