In Their Shoes
I didn't realize I was past the gym until I got to the crossroad a mile away. I turned right and took the long way drive back to the gym because I had a few things on my mind. I read an article yesterday that disturbed me; the disconnect that happened between mother and son when the son came out to his mother. His mother said, I'll think about it. Some days later, the son jumped off a bridge because his college roommate had secretly videotaped him getting intimate with a man and had sent a link on where to watch it on his Twitter account.
His mother, when the son came out, thought that her son was relieved after their conversation. But in one of the text messages retrieved after the son's suicide, he had sent a text message to a friend saying that his mom had more or less completely rejected him.
I understand the reasoning of the mother when she said she had to think about it; that she had to process it first. As she had said in the article, parents worry a lot about their children and when your son didn't turn out the way you hoped they would be--you worry more, especially if the world condemns the likes of your son. It doesn't mean she didn't love her son, but it was an added worry for her to think what her son's future would be knowing who he is.
I also see the point of view of the son. Anything less than an outright and wholehearted acceptance feels like a rejection. When the mother said, I'll think about it, it seemed to suggest a hesitation, as if the mother would like to review the contract for unconditional love and see if there was a stipulation for something like that. It's like saying, "Wait, let me check again because I don't think I signed up for that."
It made me think if the son could have been saved if the mother had simply said I love you or something more encouraging than her hesitant response. Reading about suicides affect me deeply. Maybe because I've had those dark thoughts. I've gone through that darkness a few times. And a twisted part of me admires those who've done it. A way of taking control of a life that has spiraled out of control. It reminds me of that line from the movie The Hours: "To look life in the face, always, to look life in the face and to know it for what it is. At last to know it, to love it for what it is, and then, to put it away."
It's a way of saying, this is my life and I can do what I want with it, even if it means ending it. Of course, people would argue that killing yourself is cowardice because you're letting circumstances and your misfortune overwhelm you. That instead of fighting on, you're giving up. But people who usually say that had never seen the end of the rope and found nothing there.
There are, at least, two ways of seeing things. It's a matter of perspective, of putting yourself in the shoes of the other to understand where they're coming from.
On a much lighter note, I'm in the first few chapters of a book, a memoir about a gay couple, their love and their 50-plus years relationship. The chapters are divided into his-and-his account and they'd recount the same scene, but would tell them from their own perspectives. Like the first time they met and their impressions of each other and how they both think they're not good enough for the other. Or how one had considered that the other was not interested in him because the other guy had seemed distant and aloof, while on the next chapter the other guy would write that he tried to play it cool (read: distant and aloof) because he didn't want to be too obvious that he's interested. Or how they thought they're so different from each other that they won't click.
It gives the reader the kilig (what's the perfect English word for kilig?) moment to know something that they don't know yet, something that they would have to discover for themselves and something that, luckily enough, they found in each other. As Mike Nichols (director of Closer where one of the costars is Natalie Portman--there's my Natalie Portman connection. LOL) said in the foreword of the book, the greatest luck in the world is finding your other half. The book shows how they found each other and how they stayed together, warts and all.