30years. The big Three-Zero. One score and ten. Some of you may be some distance from reaching this milestone. Some of you may be higher up on that proverbial hill.
Or over it. Heh heh.
What do you think your life would be like when you reach 30? Or did you have life figured out when you were 30?
I see my friends getting married, having their first kids, even their second ones. They are buying houses, moving on up in life and living the Malaysian dream, which really isn’t too different from the American dream, I guess. But ours usually includes two working parents and a live-in servant who in some cases spends more time raising the kids than the parents themselves. Sad but true.
As for me, I honestly don’t have life figured out. I’m still working out how I could make the most of my God-given life. What is the purpose of my existence? That besides wondering if and when and how I’d meet my knight in shining armour.
As I approach my big three-zero I’m beginning to wonder what it really means to live authentically. Does it mean I need to tell everyone I’m gay? Or should I tell only my nearest and dearest? Or would accepting myself just as I am suffice?
I was actually contemplating on outing myself on Facebook on my birthday but I’ve since realised that that might not be a good idea, at least in my case.
A few days ago I had dinner with one of my friends from high school and his new girlfriend. Somehow our conversation gravitated towards one of our classmates who is somewhat openly gay. They were wondering in a nearly condescending manner how he could be a staunch Catholic if he were gay. And my friend also opined that the present Pope’s fixing what is wrong — i.e. homosexuality.
At that point I was thinking to myself, hello, you’re talking to a freaking staunch Pentecostal here, and he’s freaking gay too. Do you think we can’t love God just because we’re gay? Do you think we’re any less Christian than you are? Well, it’s just as good that you don’t know I’m gay. Our friendship extends beyond my orientation, and it also extends beyond your lack of understanding of gay people. Maybe one day I’d have to let you know, but it’s pointless for you to know right now. I don’t think you’d be able to handle it.
Hey friends, I’m gay-ay
And I say it’s okay
But then again is there a point in doing that? I don’t see any straight people declaring that they are straight. Or perhaps they don’t need to; after all they post pictures of themselves with their opposite-sex partners, for instance. So should I post photos of my boyfriend and I, if and when I have a boyfriend?
Yet again I ask myself, is there really a point in doing that? After all I am the same person my friends and family have always known and loved. What difference would it make whether I’m gay or not?
Perhaps I’d suddenly become a bogeyman to some.
Perhaps some will hate me.
Perhaps some will try to offer unsolicited advice.
Perhaps some will try to get me to join Exodus.
Perhaps some will think of me as brave.
Perhaps some will support me.
Perhaps some will start asking me if mauve curtains would clash with their feature wall.
I wonder if this is what it would take to be authentic.
I’m genuine and don’t wear masks in my interactions with friends and family. I’m truly concerned for their wellbeing, and I’m always there when they need help. I laugh with them; I cry with them. I’m there in their happy times; I’m there in their sad times. I pray for them and with them.
Isn’t that authentic enough?
PEN T. COSTAL is a regular guy from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia who has just discovered his ability to string words together. When not at his day job, or serving his church as a cell-group leader, he enjoys photography, good conversation and travel, though not necessarily in that order. He also daydreams about finding his life partner and husband. (“Pen” is obviously not his real name, but IMPACTmagazine has agreed to protect his identity.)