Monday, July 13, 2009

So why do I bring up shame now?

I will open up a bit here, I was brought up a Pentecostal, and part of me maintains a level of shame or embarrassment at certain things that that particular religious sect set in place. I was also brought up Puertorican and American, and often that has set up a conflict of ideas in my own mind with regard to certain things.

The idea that there was something other than “God” out there was always part of my life, since my own maternal grandfather was a believer in Santeria, something that we were not allowed to explore for ourselves, but which was never hidden from us. But the Pentecostal Church was a big can of nuts, and not the crunchy salty honey kind, the weird jumping around fomenting hatred kind, and I rejected it quite early in my life, even if I never understood on an intellectual level why.

As a gay man, I have also felt the enforcement of society’s hatred toward me because my sexual proclivities and emotional requirements are different from the mainstream. I have often rebelled against what I must have subconsciously perceived as the demands of a society that has always been very hypocritical about sex by doing things that I sometimes think on and feel shame about. Yet, if I think about my own personal beliefs on freedom of all kinds, I wonder why my own mind seems to fight with me on the issue of shame for those things.

I did, after all, grow up with a knowledge of disease that generations before me were not given because of society’s unwillingness to discuss sex, and so I have been responsible while at the same time being a wanton slut (a word I don’t actually believe in, but which describes how society might label me if I were a woman, for example) so as a man, an adult, I must not allow myself to feel shame to the point that I will not discuss these things, because when we allow that to happen to ourselves we also shut down our stream of knowledge and wisdom.

But there is still a sense of shame that my upbringing and culture have imposed upon me, programmed me with and made me feel.

This time I am spending with Aphrodite is forcing me to look at these things in my own mind and heart, and I hope that I can find the means by which I can reprogram myself so as not to feel shame at something so simple and natural, but to feel understanding of my own behaviors, those which have been natural and enjoyable and those which have been self destructive so that I might learn from them.

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