Life is full of contradictions and many times it lays within ourselves due to societal pressure to conform, or an unwillingness to admit a truth to oneself. In the process we bury the truth and create a an alternative truth; one that is not representative of what we believe or who we truly are. Such personal contradictions can cause immense, and often times irreparable harm to our psyche and when manifested outward, can hurt those around us and also create an impression within others that is not who we truly are.
According to Wikipedia, a contradiction “consists of a logical incompatibility between two or more propositions. It occurs when the propositions, taken together, yield two conclusions which form the logical, usually opposite inversions of each other. Illustrating a general tendency in applied logic, Aristotle’s law of noncontradiction states that “One cannot say of something that it is and that it is not in the same respect and at the same time.” Often times we ourselves become “something that is and that it is not in the same respect at the same time.”
When I look back upon my life as a closeted individual, it was full of so many contradictions because I was creating a façade to cover up my true essence; who I really was, due to my fears and insecurities related to my homosexuality. This “covering up” process began way back in grade school. I had always sensed something was different about me compared to my friends and classmates. I could never really put my finger on it, as I was very young and didn’t know such things about gay and straight and all the other concepts that go along with it. But inside I knew there was something inherently and profoundly different about me and it, even then, created some level of tension with myself.
As I got into Junior High School (now called Middle School), the “cover-up” really began in earnest since it was when puberty hits and feelings begin to stir inside and hormones start to flow. I clearly knew then I was different as my hormonal urges were not being directed to the girls in my class, but to the boys. This really frightened me and in the ‘70’s you just did not express such feelings outwardly, but then again, I was nowhere near the point of coming out so I just trudged along the way I was and buried feelings and created more contradictions within myself.
When I got to college, I felt a bit more liberated, as I was surrounded by new people, places and opportunities to explore my hidden orientation. I began to “explore” my sexuality in clandestine settings, and obscure venues, with others of like mind. At the same time I began to weave a conservative façade to cover up such “encounters” and present an image of myself that was not who I really was. I began to espouse positions against abortion, homosexuality and generally embracing a somewhat hard line conservative political paradigm overall. But inside I hated it.
I despised what I was outwardly expressing. However, subconsciously, at times, I would espouse a much more liberal perspective on issues, my true perspective. These contradictions did not go unnoticed, so much so that my roommate in college once told me, a number of times in fact, that he was my best friend, and that he knew me well but at the same time, he didn’t. He would often tell me that I was a person of contradictions.
What really drove it home though was one night while we were partying, and we were quite drunk and high, he looked me and said, “you know, you are living in your own private Idaho.” I looked at him and said, “what are you fucking talking about?” Inside I KNEW what he meant. He clearly had me pegged and was beginning to decipher and sift through the façade.
“Don’t let the chlorine in your eyes
Blind you to the awful surprise
That’s waitin’ for you at
The bottom of the blue blue blue pool.
You’re livin’ in your own Private Idaho. Idaho.
Get out of that state
Get out of that state
You’re living in your own Private Idaho,
Livin’ in your own Private Idaho.”
I was in my own Private Idaho and I was beginning to jump into the pool. I was awakening to the awful surprise of who I really was and became very aware of the contradictions I was living amongst, that I had created myself. I lived in my own private Idaho for many years, but along the way I began to shed some of the contradictions, and began to align myself with who I was beginning in my late 20’s when I finally admitted to myself that I was gay.
I was not ready to take the complete jump off the cliff though and fully come out. I continued living my life as a little conservative Nazi, espousing hateful positions and creating more inconsistencies within myself that drove me crazy. My then sister-n-law, even told me once that she really didn’t like me at all. That really hurt me and served to remove another tether of the life of contradiction that was tying me down.
Another example of my life of contradiction lays in the 80’s and early 90’s when the Amway business was the rage and I was duped into doing “the business.” I was surrounded by ultra-conservative types and I felt it would be a good place to “cover up.” However, with each function I went to and the more I hung around many of the people in “the business” I got more distressed and angry with myself that I was espousing such nonsense and cheering the admonitions of the evils of homosexuality by people on stage. I continued this charade for many years, until a certain point when I said “enough” and just removed myself from such a blatant contradiction.
After this point, my life of contradictions and falsehoods continued for many more years until my late 30’s, when at 37, I took the plunge, jumped off the cliff and came out to friends, family, and work and professional associates. It was the time when I cast off the life of contradictions I was living and began to realign myself with my true self, began espousing much more liberal perspectives politically, and socially, and rid myself of the repressive and oppressive Catholicism that was part of my contradictory existence. Such a drastic realignment caused severe panic attacks and internal anguish, but I overcame it all, and have arrived at the person I am today.
When your life is a contradiction, the truth ultimately will prevail. Thank heavens I took control of my life and came out. Today, I have nothing to hide and will freely express and divulge anything about myself. One’s past is just that… the past… but you cannot deny it…. if you do, it will come back to bite you, such as the case with Federal Circuit Court Judge Bill Pryor, whose gay porn past has been uncovered and is a clear contradiction with his life today as a hateful, homophobic judge who is not cool with gays and lesbians walking the streets as free people. According to People for the American Way, Judge Pryor “would deny gay men and lesbians the equal protection of the laws. He believes that it is constitutional to imprison gay men and lesbians for expressing their sexuality in the privacy of their own homes and has voluntarily filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court urging the Court to uphold a Texas law that criminalizes such private consensual activity.”
Clearly his contradiction has caught up to him, as mine would have as well, if I had not come out and evolved into the person I am today. I look forward to my continuing evolution forward to becoming the person I am supposed to be, aligned with the power of the universe, channeling its energy to my creativity and true essence.
Are you living in your own private Idaho? Are you interwoven amongst so many contradictions and falsehoods to the point that you do not differentiate what is truth and what is not? Do your friends and family dislike you for who you are and what you espouse because of your façade? Then take the step out into the light! Muster the courage to cast off your contradictions, and be who you were meant to be. Life is way too short to waste it on useless cover-up and falsehood. Be true to yourselves and just be yourselves and not worry about what people think. You will overcome it all and be a much better person for it