Thursday, April 20, 2006

10 Years Ago: Realizing How Sick I Was

On April 20 & 21, 1996, I'm starting to admit (to readers? to myself?) that I'm not doing so well when I confess, on the 21st:
I've lost too much weight. I think I'm down to 140 (and I stand 6'2"). It may be time to go to a hospital and get TPN, which is food they put directly into your blood.
No one, at this point, had said to me, "Okay, you probably only have a few weeks left," so it wasn't something I dwelt on. My focus was One Day At A Time -- and I mean that literally. If I had a good day, then it would seem to me, living squarely in that moment, that it was an indication that I was on my way back -- after all, I had already come back twice before. And if I had a bad day, it was just something to get through.

For instance, on the 20th:
A perfect day yesterday. Got up nice and early, ate rice and bananas, made my diary entry, took my shower, went to Bob-A-Lew, started making tape copies of the show, felt like a million bucks -- no residual pain, no nausea, etc. In fact, I felt like I could bench press the whole office and few others down the block.

About 2pm, I started to feel tired, so I obeyed my body's message to me, went home and fell asleep on the bed...Slept all afternoon and woke up about 6:30. Had more rice, did a little computer work and then back to bed.

Now, if that's not a perfect day, I don't know what is.
Looking back, I don't know if that's pathetic or sweet, that I would view a day like that as a "Superman" kind of day, where the only thing I could hold down was BRAT (banana, rice, applesauce, toast) and CODEINE (all to stop the diarrhea), and I considered 10-2 to be a full day of strength even though I needed that little four hour nap.

The first emails from the outside world are beginning to arrive, also. People I don't know are starting to find my diary.
One new friend is a very devout born-again Christian who approached cautiously at first. He said he would link to my page from his, but only if he could put a disclaimer warning that there was gay stuff here. I invited him to do so, of course. But I also told him that if I put a link from my page to his, I would have to put a disclaimer warning that he was a Christian. He linked me without the disclaimer.
I wish people like my old friend, T, could learn this lesson, that we can respectfully disagree with each other without declaring war. On the other hand...

Thinking back, I think this "friend" I made back then might have been Randy Thomas, who has since then become one of the main spokespersons for Exodus International, the "exgay" organization. Randy and I don't speak with each other these days. Once he made the leap from friendly conservative Christian to Warrior Out To Destroy All Gays, he didn't like it when I recently voiced a few objections to his "ministry," which, these days, consists of lobbying Congress to deprive gay and lesbian people of their civil rights.

When I confronted him on his efforts to disturb my own personal life and home, he accused me of being selfish. "You gays think this is all about you," he said.

"What are you talking about?" I countered, angrily. "You're whole agenda is STOP THE HOMOS! It's plastered all over your website. When you testify in public, your only message is 'Stop Gay Marriage!' You'll pardon me if I accidentally noticed your actual words. So, yeah, I think this is all about us."

Randy and I have a few more encounters over the years. Each time we meet, I'm totally optimistic that our differing sides can find a reasonable place at the table together. Even today, I still believe it -- or, at least, I think we could if not for the interference of political forces and Big Money from the TV evangelists. It's like that scene in Network, "You are messing with the primal forces!"

When politics and faith mix, faith nearly always loses, or else becomes a twisted, sick version of itself. Even Jesus knew this, "Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. Render unto God what is God's." Ah, but we never learn, do we? We race into Iraq in order to make them more secular while fighting here at home to make our government more religious. The ironies abound.
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