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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 8, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 41
The day the world changed
Section One
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The day the world changed

by Jeffrey Sellers - Special to the SGN

Everyone remembers a day when the world drastically changed for them, a moment so prolific, so intense, that it quite literally hit them like an ungodly tidal wave sweeping away everything in its path. The aftermath of these life-changing moments can either inspire or depress the soul who happens upon them. Approximately 10 days ago, while shopping in a Barnes & Noble, I had a world-changing revelation! While searching for a Queer-themed book that would allow me to edit a history project I was working on, I calmly walked up to an attendant and asked him where the Gay and Lesbian section of the store was. Now, to those who read this, that simple act may seem like nothing to write home about - but to a person like me, it was nothing short of miraculous.

To understand the relevance of my world-changing moment, one must first understand my relationship with personal repression. Growing up in the conservative town of Pasco to a highly abusive father, I learned almost from the beginning of my life to follow orders and repress anything that didn't fit my strict upbringing. From the time that I began to walk till eighth grade, I was taught that things like sexuality and religion were taboo subjects never to be explored or discussed. So great was my level of repression that when anyone brought up one of these taboo subjects I would immediately shut down and become defensive to the point of anger. When my sexuality slowly began to emerge, I did everything in my power to fight it and disassociate myself from other Queer people. Luckily, with the help of some good friends and mentors, I was eventually able to open my mind and move beyond my intolerant and prudish ways. Unfortunately, despite the changes I made to myself and my eventual acceptance of my sexuality, I still perceived myself as a stuck-up prude. Despite all the changes that I had made, the image I had of myself as a terrible prude still remained.

When I approached the attendant in that Barnes & Noble about finding the Gay and Lesbian section of the store, it was with no other thought than finding a book. There was no shame in my heart, and the image of a selfish prude which had followed me for years was nowhere to be found. In mere moments, my world changed as I realized that I had openly asked for help in finding a book on a subject that had once been the utmost taboo in my mind. Quickly, I rushed to the spot he showed me and cradled the book I wanted in my arms like a precious newborn. The instant I opened my prize, my mind flashed before me, playing back everything I had seen and done during the past 10 years. With rapt attention I watched my own personal slide show and noticed at long last that the person I once was no longer existed! Just as soon as I came to this conclusion, the show ended and I found myself staring at words on a page.

Hands trembling, I closed the book and stared out the store window in awe. Amidst the beautiful sunset that covered the sky, I couldn't help but notice that I was staring at a whole new world! As I got closer to the window I saw my face reflected on its surface. Free of shame and confident in myself, I bought my book and walked out into a brave new world.

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