That Indelible Moment

I think — to run the risk of overgeneralizing — that any LGBT individual can point to a particular moment when life in its frenzied and confused whirlwind settles and perches upon a single instance when nothing has ever been so crystal clear. Be it a passage in a book, a TV episode, an album, a song, a film, an intentionally unintentional brushing of fingertips in a group of friends at a county fair at fourteen or with coworkers downtown at thirty-five. Time stops, and you just know. If, to paraphrase Camus, life is naught but the summary of one’s choices, this upends the order: Being and Nothingness becomes Being, Nothingness and Becoming.

For me, it was The Smiths — cliché, I know, but I had never even heard of Morrissey until I was a college freshman. “There is a Light and It Never Goes Out” spoke to me in a way few songs have before or since. “But then a strange fear gripped me / And I just couldn’t ask…” The combination of resignation to a life forever unfulfilled (“Take me anywhere, I don’t care, I don’t care”) with the ebullient and desperate hope that there *is* a light that never goes out creates a light in itself for its silently suffering and silenced LGBT individuals hanging upon each word, for whom each syllable represents the long hoped-for but never truly expected potential of life as an equal.

I’ve been thinking a great deal about nostalgia, its meaning to individual human beings and as a philosophical and historical force with which to be reckoned. “Nostalgia, that cursèd whore / hath belabored me all mine hours. / A shiftless spectre, gaunt and wan / Yet would fain speak words of woe / And memory long of ash and soot.” So to speak.


~ by Benji on 26 July 2015.

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