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Defying gravity …


… as in turning loose and not letting your weights hold you down. Learning to fly, maybe. Or at least trying to.

The idea of defying gravity came from my friend Brandon who was visiting from Atlanta  a few weeks ago. We were at Tribe, a local gay bar that features cheap drink deals and show-tune videos every Sunday afternoon. As I’ve said before, I’m not a big fan of show tunes, but I’m often at Tribe on Sundays because there’s a lively crowd in the place well before my bedtime. And, as I’ve also said before, I like being in a room full of queers now and then.

Brandon does like show tunes – or at least some of them – and was delighted when the vj worked “Defying Gravity” from the musical Wicked into the video mix for the first time. It’s one of his favorite songs. It may become one of my favorites, too.

When the video was over, Brandon turned to me and said he thought it would make a good blog topic. I agreed – only to be polite, I guess, because I had no idea at the time what I would say. Now that I’ve had a while to think about it, I think I understand why he made the suggestion.

In Wicked, Elphaba, a witch, goes against the tide, decides to do her own thing, and begins to fly on a broomstick she has enchanted. Although her troubles are far from over, as she sings the song she has won a victory over fear and stasis – and  over gravity.

That reminds me of Brandon. And it reminds me of me.

As a good friend and solid supporter, Brandon has played a much bigger part in my life as an out gay man than he knows. Yet on the surface, we are quite different. For starters, he’s more than 20 years younger than I am. Beyond that, he’s been out since he was in college and has had a lot more experience at “being gay” than I have.

On the flip side, we are both Episcopalian refugees from fundamentalist religion. We’ve  both struggled to shed our baggage. We’re both still working on that, and likely will be for some time. But more important is this: in the last two years both of us found the courage to break loose from where we had been moored in relative safety.

After a year or more of deliberation, some of it private, some with his friends at Christ Church, Brandon made a gutsy decision that has changed his life forever. In his mid-thirties, more than 10 years out of school, Brandon enrolled in the Candler School of Theology at Emory University to pursue a masters degree. Leaving behind a secure job and a city where he had a great network of friends and a supportive faith community, he has taken his life on a completely different – and as yet still uncharted – course. Though he’s not sure where the path will take him, he has the faith to know it’s the right path.

If you’ve read much of this blog, you know that the details of my life are very different from Brandon’s. And yet there’s a common core. Like Brandon, I came to a point where my life had to change. Life as a straight man no longer worked. After over a year of deliberation, some in private and some with friends, I came out. Leaving a good marriage and a big chunk of my identity behind, I decided to take an uncharted course.

We both survived. More than that, we are flying. In my case, sometimes it’s a little too close to the ground for comfort. But we are defying gravity.

So … sail on Brandon, my friend. I’m right behind you, working to keep up, working to fly a little bit higher every day.

And if you see yourself mirrored by either Brandon or me, have faith, have courage. Lose your weights and begin to fly. I don’t think you’ll regret it, and there are many of us who will be cheering you on.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Mark permalink
    08/23/2010 6:22 AM

    Well said, David.

    • 08/23/2010 6:25 AM


  2. 08/23/2010 9:02 AM

    Hi, David! Enjoyed your blog this morning. Here’s another one I got from a fellow yogi this morning that parallels yours. The Universe is speaking loudly this morning. It must be Mars.

    Living life without a net can be just what we need to step outside of ourselves and make the choices we need most.

    As we create the life of our dreams, we often reach a crossroads where the choices seem to involve the risk of facing the unknown versus the safety and comfort of all that we have come to trust. We may feel like a tightrope walker, carefully teetering along the narrow path to our goals, sometimes feeling that we are doing so without a net. Knowing we have some backup may help us work up the courage to take those first steps, until we are secure in knowing that we have the skills to work without one. But when we live our lives from a place of balance and trust in the universe, we may not see our source of support, but we can know that it is there.

    If we refuse to act only if we can see the safety net, we may be allowing the net to become a trap as it creates a barrier between us and the freedom to pursue our goals. Change is inherent in life, so even what we have learned to trust can surprise us at any moment. Remove fear from the equation and then, without even wondering what is going on below, we can devote our full attention to the dream that awaits us.

    We attract support into our lives when we are willing to make those first tentative steps, trusting that the universe will provide exactly what we need. In that process we can decide that whatever comes from our actions is only for our highest and best experience of growth. It may come in the form of a soft landing, an unexpected rescue or an eye-opening experience gleaned only from the process of falling. So rather than allowing our lives to be dictated by fear of the unknown, or trying to avoid falling, we can appreciate that sometimes we experience life fully when we are willing to trust and fall. And in doing so, we may just find that we have the wings to fly.

    When we believe that there is a reason for everything, we are stepping out with the safety net of the universe, and we know we will make the best from whatever comes our way.


    • 08/23/2010 9:13 AM

      Glad you liked it, and I agree w/ your yogi. It reminds me of what my genius-therapist Dodge said to me a bunch of times (I’m a slow learner), “Sometimes you just have to turn loose of the trapeze and fall into the net.”

      That’s what I finally had to do. It was a scary fall, but a very soft landing.

      And that same thing is repeating itself in the rest of my life. I hung onto a dying business for 2 years, getting deeper into a hole the whole time. I finally turned it loose, let it fail and now I’m off in a new direction in a cool new job. Scary, but worth it in the end, I think.

  3. nanci Reese permalink
    08/23/2010 11:57 AM

    Dear David,
    I love your blog. It is so good to sort of be in contact with you again. I liked the part about going to church and sheading the fundamentalist childhood and dealing today in church w/ that baggage. I too struggle but it helps me to think of Jesus as an Alien. And my church it OK with that. I have even done series UFO’s and the bible. A friend bought them sight unseen. I got to 9 and have 6 or 7 more ideas but have run out of steam for that project- some years ago.
    Take Care,

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