by Donald Andrew Agarrat
I have long eyelashes. Today, people often ask me if I use mascara, but as a child, it entrenched me in the role of village faggot. Once, I was so hurt that I came home, went to the bathroom and clipped them off. My mother whipped my ass and said, "Don't you _ever_ let what people tell you make you hurt yourself." My mother has been both mother and father to me, and now she is also my best friend. It wasn't always that way - sometimes it was _really_ rough. But I guess that saying is true "Nam myoho renge kyo" - The lotus that blooms through the mud is the most beautiful.
I came out to her when I was 20 and living on my own. I invited her over and it took me 45 minutes to say "Mommy, I'm homosexual." She said she hoped it was a phase and that she always heard people talking about me-once got into a knock-down drag-out fight with my aunt, her favorite sister. My mother has always loved me more than I could ever imagine, but I guess growing up I didn't realize that she was still growing up, too. I'm 27 and she is 47.
This is supposed to be about identity, so I'll cut to the chase: the creation of my identity as I know it came about when I realized that my father would never be a man to look up to in my life, made much easier by his absence. So I made a vow to become someone to look up to. I made a vow to be the man my father never was (and probably is still not). Funny thing is I look exactly like him, and we share a _lot_ of interests (we both DJ, love Prince/Kraftwerk/good disco), electronics. My mother tells me that I move my lips just like him, that I eat just like him. In so many ways, I _am_ him, but I will be me most of all.
That meant actually looking at my life, and looking at what I wanted my life to be. I'm speaking in past tense as if I've already done it, but it is a long, arduous responsibility and committment. I look at myself as a Black man who is Same-Gender-Loving. When I first heard the term, I said "Dag, that's a mouthful." But, it's also a mindful because as a Black Same-Gender-Loving man, I set myself aside from the resident subterfuge (there goes that word again) in the gay community-at-large. I want the love of a Black man. And nost just any Black man either. The little bit of love that I have for myself as a Black man, I want to share with another. That's something our society can't understand, but I never needed that much understanding from people that don't know me, anyway, especially if they are white, and especially since we are talking about my core being.
I don't hate white people and do not juxtapose my identity against their own and people who want to be like them - there are some things we have in common. But my body is a spiritual temple and sacred ground, not a chess board on which to play any elaborate psychopolitical game. That controls the boundaries of my life which allow me to create standards for who I have in it. As a Pisces, I need to have positive influences affecting me, because I'm easily affected and very sensitive. Most of the time, however, this means being alone. I have very few friends, but a larger purpose. I've learned to be alone in my presence. I'm learning to be present where I am every waking moment of my life, growing closer in my walk with God.
Last updated: 28 June 1977 by Chuck Tarver