The Ultimate Brokeback Forum

Author Topic: How Brokeback Affected Me--continued  (Read 480163 times)

Offline michaelflanagansf

  • Forum Librarian and buckle bunny
  • Team Cullen
  • Obsessed
  • *****
  • Posts: 25020
Re: How Brokeback Affected Me--continued
« Reply #15 on: July 12, 2007, 04:43:52 PM »
I've been thinking for a bit what I'd like to say in my 10,000th post and I think it's entirely appropriate to say it in 'How Brokeback Affected Me'- because, after all, all of this is a result of the movie.

So since I've posted here last how has Brokeback affected me?  Well, I'm tempted to say that it has gotten me more involved in living.  Now I grow orchids - I had never tried that before.  Now I'm taking pictures with my digital camera (and phone camera).  And there are things like going to Operas and riding horses - some new, some continuations of things I have done before.  Before BBM I just grew cactus and my digital camera (which I won in a contest) had sat unused on a shelf for several years (that's kind of a metaphor - it's not shirts in a closet, but you get the picture).  I didn't have a camera in my phone.  So I seem to be affected in that I am both trying new things and getting together with people to revisit things that I had tried in the past.

These may seem like little things but they are symptomatic of what I have seen all around me.  People are willing to try new things - and the film challenged us to do that.  In so many ways people have tried to 'fix it' (both big and small) in terms of their lives.  People have moved to new states (and new countries).  People have gotten married.  And many have made plans to change things in their lives that they don't like now.

I continue to analyze and accept the challenge to continue to change my own life.  For me that's not new - that's what I was doing when I moved from Michigan to San Francisco in 1980 and when I accepted a tech job in 1985 and moved to working in libraries in 1999.  But it continues to be the right thing to do.  I know my answers are not the same as the answers that others will come up with - but wouldn't life be boring if we did?

I think that some of these challenges are why it has taken me longer to get to post 10,000 than it did for me to get through post 4,000.  Even though I'm a moderator I find it is essential to 'unplug' - to get involved in life off the computer - in order to 'fix it.'  And the message of Brokeback means that I don't live in the past, but continue to move forward and look at new things - to live vitally now - and sometimes living vitally means turning off the computer.

There have been some disappointments along the way.  There have been conflicts and some who were with us are no longer here - and that's sad.  But, of course, this is reflected in our day to day experiences as well and in the online world in other contexts too.  If I could give a piece of advice regarding this I'd say 'think before posting'...and then think again.  Think about how you would feel about getting the post you are giving.    If you are ever thinking about leaving think and then think again.  I think there are lots of people here who probably care about you and would miss you.  But these disappointments have to be contrasted with the positive moves that people from all 3 forums have made socializing together in real life.  And all in all it has been a great experience

One thing that I worry about is that as a group we may focus in too much on our emotions and allow them to paralyze us.  It's important to feel - but then to take actions on what we feel - whether we've been abused or bashed or lonely or left mourning a death - feel it and take a step forward.  And that step forward can be getting into therapy too (because, of course, an online community can only go so far in helping us change).  It sure has helped me in the past.  Regardless,  know that we will all support those steps forward.

I was commenting to a new friend from the forum that one of the things I'm most grateful for is that I have met people who are willing to get out and do things.  Among my long term friends I've noticed a tendency to 'settle down' and not get out much.  Perhaps one of the things we 'brokies' share is that we do not want to settle - we want to try new things.  That's a good thing to see in people.

For me what continues to be important here is that we talk about things that are meaningful to us and enriching our lives - and if that's a film in 'Gay Cinema', or a trip in the 'Railfans' thread, or a song in 'What are you listening to now', an Opera in the Opera thread or a new book in the 'what are you reading now' it lifts us up and helps fulfill us.  That's one of the things I like about my slasher friends - they have a goal (writing - or reading and commenting on others writing) and they share it and treasure it.  I may not do it too much myself, but I honor and respect that they do.  I think it's important to expand our words - to keep growing and keep changing - the get out of that 'trailer in our mind.'  I really don't think that any one thing - whether it be the perfect relationship, or the perfect story, or the perfect film - can be the 'answer' for our lives - because we have to go on living.  The world doesn't stop, it isn't fixed (in either sense of the word) in a moment.  We need to remain engaged.  And no one thing can do that - whether it be gay institutions, a marriage, kids, or our life's work.  In order to live a good life I think we have to keep trying new things and remain engaged - I hope to keep doing this myself.

How do I hope to remain engaged here now?  I would hope to continue to grow and share.  I would hope that people would find inspiration from the films and books we discuss in the film and book clubs - to continue the experience of enlightenment that we had in 'Brokeback Mountain.'  I would hope that we could discuss what the world was like for gay people in threads like 'Gay History.'  And yes - that is a plug - I want my friends here to come to my threads.  One of the best, most fulfilling things that has happened for me here since post 4,000 is meeting people in the book, film and gay history threads - they're a good, thoughtful bunch - and if you haven't encountered them you owe it to yourself - they're a real treat.

I also hope that we continue to meet people from all forums in real lives and to be engaged with one another.  We're a pretty loving bunch.

I look forward, both here and offline, to continue growing and changing with my friends - to live in a brighter, happier future.  I'll see you there.
I do my thing, & you do your thing. I am not in this world to live up to your expectations, and you are not in this world to live up to mine. You are you and I am I, and if by chance we find each other - it is beautiful. If not it can't be helped.

Fritz Perls - A Gestalt Prayer

Offline brian

  • Obsessed
  • *****
  • Posts: 2960
Re: How Brokeback Affected Me--continued
« Reply #16 on: July 12, 2007, 05:20:33 PM »
Mainly sending so this new thread appears in my new thread box- have always enjoyed the old thread although after nearly 18 months not much new to report from me. I have made new friends online and met some here in Australia and of course DaveinPhilly on my trip to US in April which I count as a blessing due to Brokeback.
 Perhaps offtopic -must search for an other movie thread but last night I was blown away NEARLY as much as by Brokeback when I saw "History Boys"
The homosexual student (1983) says "I am jewish, small and homosexual, I am f...d" My heart broke.
At the end they outline what happened to the characters (apparently differs from the play - more research needed) and this same boy became a teacher, he never touched the boys, he was not unhappy but not happy either. That described my career as a teacher to a tee. Tears were streaming down my face.
Many other things I would like to research and discuss about this film and have just joined my 2nd movie forum????

Offline dejavu

  • may the snowy egret live
  • Obsessed
  • *****
  • Posts: 86836
Re: How Brokeback Affected Me--continued
« Reply #17 on: July 12, 2007, 05:22:47 PM »
I've been thinking for a bit what I'd like to say in my 10,000th post and I think it's entirely appropriate to say it in 'How Brokeback Affected Me'- because, after all, all of this is a result of the movie.

So since I've posted here last how has Brokeback affected me?† Well, I'm tempted to say that it has gotten me more involved in living. {snip}†

Michael, a very nice post.   And congratulations on your 10,000th.

Becoming more involved in living is maybe the most important goal we can set for ourselves, whatever that means to us.  That's a lesson I got in an intellectual sense from the film, but I didn't really experience it until the Estes Park BBQ.  The warmth and caring of so many wonderful people was unbelievable.

I'm making some minor changes in my personal hobbies too (for me it's not a digital camera yet, but maybe soon; right now it's a new color printer).  And I'm being more daring in terms of things about which, before, I would have have said, "Oh, no, I couldn't possibly do that."

One of these things is traveling to meet people from the BBQ, to develop a wider circle of friends.  From as short as a drive to a near suburb of Denver to eat dinner with someone from the BBQ, to the San Francisco get-together coming up in September.  And, while the plans still have to be worked out, I may spend some time in NYC for the first time -- a place which has always terrified me.

New things have a way of forcing time away from the old things, because you can't do everything all at once.  So I may not be commenting as much in the book club until all this traveling stops (I'm also back in Denver for three weeks in August) but I enjoy the books and will keep up the reading when possible.

It is interesting to see that no matter where all of us started, there are certain common themes that a lot of us have drawn both from the movie itself, and from the experience of becoming a social group with some shared interests.
Jack's from Texas.
Texans don't drink coffee?

Offline sfericsf

  • Obsessed
  • *****
  • Posts: 651
Re: How Brokeback Affected Me--continued
« Reply #18 on: July 12, 2007, 06:10:02 PM »
Congrats on 10K posts Michael!

Offline CellarDweller115

  • Faithful Friend
  • Administrator
  • Obsessed
  • ******
  • Posts: 215995
  • twiddle your spaghetti
Re: How Brokeback Affected Me--continued
« Reply #19 on: July 12, 2007, 07:00:36 PM »
Michael and Brian, thanks for sharing your experiences here! 

Offline whiplash

  • Membership_deactivated
  • Obsessed
  • *****
  • Posts: 5412
Re: How Brokeback Affected Me--continued
« Reply #20 on: July 13, 2007, 08:02:27 PM »
Congrats on 10,000 Michael - awesome post† :-*† Always love your insights.
You complete me.

Offline jlm1

  • Feet Wet
  • **
  • Posts: 34
Re: How Brokeback Affected Me--continued
« Reply #21 on: July 13, 2007, 09:10:38 PM »
Michael, congratulations on your 10,000th post! You are so garrulous! It's a good thing you're also so articulate. With any luck I may soon break 30! (Of course I've been kind of busy behind the scenes.  ;)

Yes, the Brokeback phenomenon for me has also been a call to be more engaged in living, a call to leave the trailer behind. I'm glad that we are close enough together geographically to do some of that together.

One of the things that I have been impelled to do is to become more involved politically. I have been invited to become part of a coordinating committee for a progressive organization, and I've decided to jump into it. This is pretty radical for somebody who's been essentially alienated from the American political process since the Democratic convention of 1968. But I'm just not going to take it any more.

The process continues....

Jonathan


Offline atruant

  • Obsessed
  • *****
  • Posts: 1281
  • Brokeback is STILL affecting me......
Re: How Brokeback Affected Me--continued
« Reply #22 on: July 16, 2007, 04:03:47 PM »
Michael,

What a terrific no. 10,000!. It gave me goosebumps, you have such an uplifting clarity to your writing and your ideas.

And it took me back to Vancouver just under a year ago when you were plotting post no. 4000 with new friends, at Hamburger Marys....

Yes, the end-run effect of Brokeback for me is continued "moving on and opening up" and enjoying new friendships with folks of like mind.

John

John and Chuck -
Ennis and Jack got us together.

Offline AWT

  • Feet Wet
  • **
  • Posts: 27
Sudden turn of events yesterday
« Reply #23 on: July 16, 2007, 05:14:05 PM »
I've been away for a while, but there's been a sudden change for me: Here's a quick summary of my situation months ago (from the original forum...)

Quote
Six years ago, a small argument with my wife over something I'd forgotten to do in the
house kind of snowballed into her demanding to know why I don't show any affection - Why we hardly ever make love.

I must have been pausing too long between answers, because she was now enraged. Then
came the bombshell: "I've seen you looking at men - do you want to be with a man?"

The colour must have drained from my face - "You've been seeing men, haven't you?"
So I told her the truth. I admitted that I had always had gay fantasies but had never acted on
them. Ever. "You make me feel sick" were her final words.

Of course I can see why she felt betrayed, that she was a 'cover'. But I married her because
we were soulmates, inseparable, passionate together. I made a genuine commitment for us to
be together for the rest of our lives. I'd lied by omission though, afraid that she would leave
me if I confided this part of me. Lies are Lies, whatever their circumstances.

From that day, we never spoke about 'us' again, kissed or made love. Family life went on, we
talked about work, lived and laughed together... It was like an unspoken 'deal' had been made to save our children from the effects a broken home.

Yesterday, my wife told me she had something very important to say to me when the kids were tucked up in bed - I knew this was the end of the 'deal', but she wasn't angry or accusing - Just calmly stated that she would always love me, but it was unfair on both of us to carry on as we are.
She wants to rebuild old friendships that she has let slip since we married rather than worry about finding a new partner, and genuinely wishes me well if a relationship with another man is what I truly need. To separate as friends and ensure our kids' welfare is first and foremost, with no need for anything legal regarding maintenance.

It's the most 'here and now' experience that I've ever had in my life - I just nodded my acceptance of what she had to say, but I must be in a kind of shock as since then I haven't cried at all - My thoughts seem to be racing between despair, isolation, guilt, relief and fear for the future. I feel like the continuity of my life-path / self-image is at an end.

She's called my bluff and set me 'free' with genuine goodwill, but why do I feel so afraid even thinking about realising my personal 'brokeback'? I've buried my feelings for so long now, I have difficulty contemplating my needs without feeling guilty.

I'd love some good advice from anyone who's going through the same :(

Andy   
« Last Edit: July 16, 2007, 05:20:35 PM by AWT »
--------------------------------------------------------------------
The four films that finally opened my heart and changed my life forever:
American Beauty, Brokeback Mountain, The Ice Storm, Lost in Translation

Offline Ellen (tellyouwhat)

  • Proulx 101
  • Global Moderator
  • Obsessed
  • ******
  • Posts: 6830
  • resist the corporate Taliban
Re: How Brokeback Affected Me--continued
« Reply #24 on: July 16, 2007, 06:03:48 PM »
Andy, I just read your post and I just had to respond, although I am not in your situation and can't relate, except for the way you said this is the most "real" encounter you have ever experienced.

Over twenty years ago, I got married to someone I knew I didn't love, and I meant to keep that my little secret.  Four years after the wedding, I broke down and confessed this to the marriage counselor.  I thought the room would be set fire if I ever confessed this.  She validated my feelings, my truth, and told me I had to build my life on the truth, whether it would be to stay in the marriage or not.  I remember walking away from that situation as if suddenly my life was on a solid foundation again, even though I had much work and heartache ahead of me -- but just because I had admitted my truth to one other person.

That is the closest I can come to imagining how you feel.

I remember reading that there is an organization to turn to that gives people who are coming out resources in how to think about doing it.  I'll see if I can find the link.

The one thing I remember is that they say it can be a slow process, if that is what you need.
sometimes I think life is just a rodeo the trick is to ride and make it 'til the bell --john fogerty

Offline michaelflanagansf

  • Forum Librarian and buckle bunny
  • Team Cullen
  • Obsessed
  • *****
  • Posts: 25020
Re: How Brokeback Affected Me--continued
« Reply #25 on: July 16, 2007, 06:28:54 PM »
Whiplash, Jonathan and John - thanks so much for your kind words!  I hope you all know you've been part of my journey here, with the get togethers in Vancouver, Chicago and San Francisco.  Thanks to you all!
I do my thing, & you do your thing. I am not in this world to live up to your expectations, and you are not in this world to live up to mine. You are you and I am I, and if by chance we find each other - it is beautiful. If not it can't be helped.

Fritz Perls - A Gestalt Prayer

Offline mcnell1120

  • Vida Loca
  • Obsessed
  • *****
  • Posts: 28784
  • Footsteps in my life....leave memories in my heart
Re: How Brokeback Affected Me--continued
« Reply #26 on: July 16, 2007, 06:42:36 PM »
Andy,

I have no advice that I can give you from my own experience...but this I can say. Being set free is and can be a very scary feeling. The structure you once had is no longer. I don't know how old your children are,but living a lie isn't a good thing for them or for yourself,you know that. This is a good thing,even though it's hard to see that right now. Your friendship with your wife will be stronger,she has respect for you,and because she loves you,she is setting you free to live your life,as she is for herself.

It's okay to be uncertain of course,it's okay to be afraid. Just take one day at a time,that's all you can do. Listen to your heart,for it never lies.It's a slow process,so patience is the key factor,and know that everything is going to be alright...good luck to you both.

Nellie
RICKY MARTIN ,tu eres mi Kiki !

Offline Nikki

  • Ephemera
  • Obsessed
  • *****
  • Posts: 6842
  • Never enough time, never enough
Re: How Brokeback Affected Me--continued
« Reply #27 on: July 16, 2007, 07:09:48 PM »


I don't have a dramatic story; I don't have a life changing event; I don't have an exciting epiphanic experience.  What I do have is what attracted me to the Forum -- I saw 'Brokeback Mountain,' the movie. My experience is so similar to many of you on the Forum that it's almost a cliche.  I was blown away by the acting --  Jake and Heath were Jack and Ennis. Their story was gut wrenching and poignant. This has all been said by many others and better, so I won't attempt to describe my feelings about the movie except to say that I did not cry or sob; I thought about it ---- a lot!  I bought the DVD and subsequently the CD. I listened to the music which gave me such a feeling of melancholy that I must admit, I did come close to tears a number of times.

After reading so many accounts of what the movie meant to other Forum members, and especially after reading Michael's post, I began to think about it.  I concluded that I don't have much to excite the reader except this.  I have come to understand what being gay means to so many here. I've lurked on various posts, bought 'Beyond Brokeback,' and have learned and been captivated by the heartbreak, problems, confusion, and optimism of so many, many posters.  Their courage in many cases puts me to shame as a straight female.  I have never and will never have the experiences written about here; I will never have to show such courage by having to walk away from family or siblings; I will never have to leave a spouse because I lived a lie; most of all I will never have to face my children and tell them I am a gay man or woman.  Those who have had to do so have my profoundest praise and gratitude.  Praise for your courage, and gratitude for showing me another side of humanity. You all have filled me with humility. 

Well, that's it -- not much to offer -- except to say that I will be with everyone here in spirit who is struggling to make a life, to change a life, to follow their dream, and to find love in whatever form it takes, and on whatever terms it takes. 

The shirts hanging on a nail shudder slightly in the draft.

If he does not force his attention on it, it might stoke the day, rewarm that old, cold time on the mountain when they owned the world and nothing seemed wrong.

Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive
But to be young was very heaven!

Offline quithammerin

  • Expert
  • ****
  • Posts: 387
  • We'll lick this damn ranch into shape
Re: How Brokeback Affected Me--continued
« Reply #28 on: July 16, 2007, 07:15:04 PM »
*ahem* (Is this thing on?)

I ain't a gal that preaches much (as k.d. lang says) but I have something I really want to get out as widely as possible.  So despite the fact that a couple of earlier posts on this new thread are very important and I hope get the big response they deserve, I'd like to put up a "more words than I've said in a year"  post.

After being punched in the gut by BBM, and nurtured and inspired by this forum, I've done 4 stints of public speaking, a death-defying act for me.  The place was my church, and the topic was making my church a safe and truly welcoming place for GLBT folks.  One presentation was specifically based on one of the posts on this forum, and could easily be adapted to temple, synagogue, monthly meeting.... it's been road-tested in a couple of North American churches and vetted by someone who is trained in pedagogy.  I hope you consider passing it on to someone who might take this story to a group of people you know.

With kids:

When you have a piece of paper, and two people want to share it, you tear it in half and then there are two smaller pieces of paper. When there are three or four people sharing the same paper, the pieces are even smaller.

What I like about candles is that you can light a second one from the first, and neither one gets any smaller. At Christmas time, here in this church, the whole church is full of people, and each one of them has a candle, and they all get lit from one candle at the front.  And all the lights are just as big as when thereís only one, except there are more of them. 

I think thatís how Godís love works, and how some peopleís love works. When thereís more people to love, none of them gets any smaller amount of love, it just grows and grows.  You donít have to divide up love.

I heard a great story about light and candles that I want to tell. 

Itís about a boy and a woman.  The woman lived on a ranch, and sometimes she was in charge of babysitting him. Usually they did really fun things when she was looking after him.   One day when she was in charge of looking after him, instead of doing one of the fun things, she said she wanted to talk to him about something.

So he sat there like you guys are doing now, only this was on a ranch, and it was in a beautiful spot outside, like there are on ranches.  The woman told the boy that  she thought he was very special, she thought  that God had made him so that he would grow up different from other men and that one day would understand that. She told him that no matter what, he had to believe that Jesus loved him very much, that he was born to carry a special light, a light that would give the world a sacred brightness. 

She told him that there would be people who would not understand and there would be some who would be cruel to him because he was different but no matter what, he had to remember that he was born under a special star and had that special light to carry to the world.  She also told him that she would always be his friend and that she would be there as my friend if he wanted to talk. 

When I heard that story I wanted to tell all of the kids here that they each have a special light to carry. You might grow up to be teenagers and grownups in a place where there are lots of people like you, or where there are hardly any people like you. But it is possible that you might grow up and find that there are people who donít understand you and are so cruel that you feel very alone and so much sadness that you forget that you have a special light to carry.

I hope nobody feels that way now.

Iím willing to bet that if you ever feel that alone, there is somebody sitting here in this church right now who would be your friend if you wanted to talk to them about it.   Someone who would cheer you up and help you remember that you carry a special light.  And that light is never any smaller because of someone elseís light.


With rest of Congregation:

This is the sequel to the story I told the kids.

The boy in the story I told the kids became a teenager.  He found out that the woman was in the hospital dying of lung cancer and he went to see her. 

By then he had an idea what she was had been talking about all those years before: he was gay. When he walked into the hospital room, she at once reached for hand and said "How is my fire child?"  They made small talk for a few minutes and then he told her "I know now what you were talking to me about that day in the aspen grove."  She squeezed his hand again and said  "Are you alright?"  He told her he was and they talked for over four hours.

During that conversation, the woman told this teenager that her brother had taken his own life at the age of 21.  Now I believe depression and suicide are complex issues that we are not able to control many times, but the people in this story belonged to a conservative church that repeated to this brother that God could not love him as he was, that he could not be loved. The woman was sure that this had driven her brother to the despair that led to his suicide. Thatís why she took a rather bewildered 10 year old boy aside and told him that that God had made him different from other men and that one day would understand what that difference was. She told him that no matter what, he had to believe that Jesus loved him, that he was born to carry a special light, a light that gave the world a sacred brightness. 

This is the story of a friend of mine who lives in a different city.  Heís a successful business owner, and he has found love: he has shared his life with another man for 15 years, and he is a faithful Christian believer, although he has left the church he was raised in. He spent some year struggling with the demons of loneliness, alienation and self-destructive behavior, but he did not succumb to them.

When he was giving permission for me to tell you his story, he told me he doesn't know what he would have done without those four hours, that they were among the most important minutes of his life.  Although the woman died a couple of weeks later, he felt like he had lost his best friend.  She was the only person on earth who truly knew him then. 

When he first told me that story, [after I went through half a box of Kleenex] I knew I wanted this church to be a place where everyone who walks in those doors, walks out again believing they can be loved, that they have a sacred light to carry to the world, something wonderful and important.  There are things that can be a barrier to that belief, like being in a minority about sexual orientation or gender identity.   I wanted us to be people who know how to get past the fear, the discomfort, the mistrust; Itís not a dream about us coming here to be perfect, itís a dream of us learning to be people who know how to open our hearts.


So that's what I wanted to tell you.  I'm putting this here because if it reaches just one other person, and changes just one more child's life, the effort will be worthwhile (and so will my taking up all this room for one post!).

You people are all great, thanks for being here - for me, for each other. 
"This happen a other people?† What the hell do they do?"† -† Ennis Del Mar

Offline mcnell1120

  • Vida Loca
  • Obsessed
  • *****
  • Posts: 28784
  • Footsteps in my life....leave memories in my heart
Re: How Brokeback Affected Me--continued
« Reply #29 on: July 16, 2007, 07:15:54 PM »


<snip>

 Those who have had to do so have my profoundest praise and gratitude.  Praise for your courage, and gratitude for showing me another side of humanity. You all have filled me with humility. 

Well, that's it -- not much to offer -- except to say that I will be with everyone here in spirit who is struggling to make a life, to change a life, to follow their dream, and to find love in whatever form it takes, and on whatever terms it takes. 



Never say that you have nothing to offer...you just did...thank you so much for putting it so beautifully.
RICKY MARTIN ,tu eres mi Kiki !