having a clue
(hav-ing a kloo) verb
a socially constructed state of being in which one has it all figured out, but which limits creativity and hinders diversity once attained; he’s 42 and still does not have a clue.
I’m 31, and much like Robbie, I still don’t have a clue – or at least not a solid one. You know, one of those clues you can really hold onto and run away with. The kind of clue that motivates you to eat your Wheaties in the morning and check your mutual funds in the afternoon (I don’t even really know what a mutual fund is – but I hope to, someday).
For now, clues are the stuff that dreams are made of. Or rather, clues and dreams are made of similar stuff. Scratch that – dreams rock, clues are for sell-outs. I’ll return to this point.
On my blog David Bothered (www.davidbothered.com), I write about some pretty big issues – religion, science, environmental conservation, self-actualization, you name it. I always write with the goal to inspire, and to offer alternative perspectives – no, to encourage alternative perspectives. We all have a tendency to get stuck, and getting stuck will get us nowhere (and certainly not any closer to a mutual fund).
But many roads lead to inspiration, and my blog is only one such road, tangled and twisted among a plethora of winding streets and rocky (even icy) paths. Robbie’s blog, 42…Still No Clue is another such road. And it has been with great pleasure that these two particular roads have had the opportunity to intersect.
I tend to get a little serious, whereas Robbie’s road to inspiration is humour – much to my admiration, I might add.
Besides not having a clue, Robbie and I have something else in common. We’re both gay, and we both grew up in a world where being gay was not only abnormal, it was frowned upon. Gay was the family secret, the internal angst, the thing to be locked away in the closet. We’ve come a long way since then. Gay is now also a synonym for “strange” and “weird.” I’m being facetious, of course. There has been real progress since I was young. But I still remember the first gay kiss on primetime TV (see Roseanne) and Ellen’s coming out episode of her original sitcom, two events that were a big deal at the time. I remember sitting and watching them with my mom, who didn’t know that the son she was sitting next to was experiencing a similar angst to the ones that played out on the screen. And her son spoke nothing of his angst, of course, because what he was watching – what the world was telling him – was that it was indeed a BIG DEAL. Absolutely and without a doubt, gay was “strange.” I got the message, loud and clear.
What I didn’t have when I was younger was any sense of what being gay was like. I grew up in a small Canadian city where I knew no other gay people. Today, kids are a little more fortunate. It’s not easy, but it’s easier. Being gay is a little more normal.
As a scared and confused teenager coming to grips with his sexuality, I really could have used a path to inspiration that was a little gayer (read more gay). And this is why I really admire Robbie, because his blog offers the perspective of a real gay man that isn’t buried in a pile of social expectations or manufactured to satisfy the average person’s schema for gay. His use of humour to reflect on the everyday stuff, both big and small, wipes gayhood clean of the BIG DEAL and leaves it feeling much more tangible and relatable. More human. More raw. Will and Grace are yesterday’s news.
I may not use it enough in my own writing, but the use of humour to relate, to engage, and to inspire has never been lost to me. Blogs like Robbie’s strike a chord, and they remind us that we’re not alone, no matter the distance from our closets or the nearness to our mutual funds. They show us that it’s okay to laugh at ourselves, even when we’re down. And they have a way of healing us, even after the cock punch that is real life subsides, and we can breathe again.
Perhaps there is something about being clueless that goes hand in hand with being gay. At very young ages, Robbie and I were forced to look at ourselves in ways that most of our friends avoided until they were much older. Perhaps in all our inner probing, we learned that having a clue meant selling out – or rather buying into a system that makes a big deal of someone’s preference for sexual partner, lover, and confidant; a system that makes young gay people feel they can’t even stop for a second and laugh at themselves, because what they’re going through is a big deal. Who they are is a serious issue. And it’s strange.
I’m still not selling out. I’m not buying in, either, for having a clue is a condition of a scripted life, a surrendering to social expectations that if not met will result in someone else’s definition of failure or “less than” – similar to some idea of what constitutes a “big deal” or what needs to be closeted. Gay or not, I would imagine that having a clue would feel much like a closet of its own. Restrictive, predictable, and far too gloomy; with unmovable boundaries drawn and defined by someone else, in someone else’s box. I prefer to stay on the road that is without clues; ever dreaming at the best of times, and never completely alone.