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Decades

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Jul. 27th, 2012 | 01:23 pm

After last night's entry I began to think about the ways in which important themes for the coming decade of my life have been prefigured near the close of the previous decade.

When I was 8 I began taking piano lessons. By age 10 I had already achieved an identity as a musician, and this culminated in my entering college as a music major at age 17.

When I was 16 I developed a surprise crush on an exchange student who stayed with us for a few weeks. We became "instant buddies." I now know what that can mean for a gay teenager, even one who has not yet identified as such. When I was 17 I developed a big crush on another boy--someone I had seen across a room in a different town from the one in which we lived. We met again on a field trip, where he turned out to be friends with someone I knew through my music school. We spent some social time together after that, but were never boyfriends. By then I had already started reading gay literature and had some idea of what might be going on, and wrote about it in my journal, which my mother read without my permission--and then she freaked out and I was blamed for that. That incident is probably the core trauma around my sexuality, from which I am still trying to heal.

So, in my late teens was ushered in the "Rainbow Decade" of my 20s, in which solidification of my sexual identity was a major issue. That is, of course, when I met my partner (along with a number of others who won't be mentioned here). It was also a time of some tentative New Age spiritual exploration.

By the end of my 20s, I was in graduate school. That, of course, provided the foundation for the professional work that I have pursued in my 30s and 40s. Another theme from this time was Sufism, which was a significant factor throughout my "Green Decade," where I tried to work out my relationship to (at least somewhat) Islamically-based Sufism. By the end of that decade, I had taken hand in NAJ, and my local Sufi teacher supported the idea of my founding a circle in the area to which I was about to relocate.

That didn't work out, and within a year of moving to my new location I had met X, which ushered in the "Decade of the Dark Mother." This was also the decade in which I lost my paternal grandmother and my mother. It has been, in many ways, a decade of darkness--both of the inner, "positive" kind and of the painful and negative kind. (Of course, those two things have ways of blending into one another over and over again.) It should come as no surprise, given the events that transpired during this decade, that my musical tastes would have become darker, including post-punk, dark ambient, and black metal. It was also the decade in which I was awarded tenure. A steady paycheck and health benefits are nice, as is not having to reapply for my job every year anymore, but as a subjective experience it's actually kind of anti-climactic.

I'm not sure exactly what will characterize the next decade, but one thing that occurred to me recently is that I have begun to gravitate more and more toward Leftist perspectives in the past few years. Little by little I've been acquainting myself with current literature and online discussions of social and economic issues that are helping me to clarify my dissatisfaction with the kind of liberalism that I was exposed to in college, and which seemed to be the necessary and sufficient antidote to the conservatism in which I was raised. Perhaps my 50s will turn out to be a "Red Decade" for me. :-)

A bit off topic, but last night I had another dream about my mother. She was lying on a bed and was not doing well. My father explained to me that the approach advocated by the people at the home hospice organization is the gradual withdrawal of nourishment as the patient begins to refuse it. To put it crudely, the patient is allowed to die from starvation and dehydration. Yeah, my mother's illness and death is an incremental, long-term trauma that is still seeking to work itself out.



Peace,

okm

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