When I was little, I memorized and repeatedly recited this little poem: “Mother, mother, I am sick. Call the doctor very quick! Doctor, doctor, shall I die? No, my darling, do not cry.” This same poem came back to mind as I received the following email from Dr. Ayedee Ace (not his real name). I include below our correspondence. Interesting. Read on, and share your thoughts.
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i just want to ask your opinion regarding two experiences that i had. i won’t bother you with the details though.
i had a friend in college and who was also an org mate where we usually have meetings on friday afternoons after classes. this friend of mine was rumored to be gay, although he had girlfriends in the past. during the fridays when we didn’t have any afternoon classes, he would invite me to hang out at his apartment. one time we watched the whole “Angels in America” (an HBO series) on dvd. i wasn’t familiar with it, but eventually found out it was a gay-themed mini series. this friend of mine also had an apartment mate who, just a few years ago, came out of the closet.
i also had a room mate who i had no idea was gay. i eventually found out he was one when i walked in on him with another guy in our room (that’s another story). well, we had a talk about it. i evetually told him that i had no problem with him being gay, just as long as he gave me a heads up if he was having somebody around. anyway, i guess he got more comfortable with our living situation, he even invites me to watch episodes of “Queer as Folk” and the movie “Shortbus” on his laptop with him.
my questions are, in these two situations were my friend and room mate trying to:
1. find out if i was gay too?
2. win me over to the other side?
3. make a pass at me?
or am i just paranoid?
thanks, Ayedee Ace
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Hi Ayedee Ace,
Thank you for sharing. You asked me, “am I paranoid?”
I don’t know. I can answer you better if you tell me more about yourself.
By the way, are you gay? Or have some doubts that maybe there is a
possibility you are?
first, let me just say that i think i just gave away my identity by emailing you with my actual email account. now you can just google my name and know how i look. how careless. but any way, let’s just keep my identity between the two of us.
about me – 26, physician by profession but currently teaching in a university, middle child, 3 brothers, over-achiever (dati)
anyway, the short answer is “it’s complicated”
when i was younger, i could definitely say straight – as in breasts, vaginas, the works.
but when i reached adolescence, that’s when things got a bit … different.
you see, i was abused by an uncle when i was around 4 or 5. he was around 13 or 14 at that time. the thing was, i didn’t know that that was an inappropriate thing to do to me until i was like 11 or 12 and read about stuff like that. all the while, i thought it was nothing, although i sort of had the understanding that it wasn’t a “normal” experience. and part of me felt guilty because at that age, i actually enjoyed it. even to this day, i can still remember the sensations, even the odors, of how things went the days i was actually abused. and somehow, the memories “excited” me. it was always at the back of my mind.
i think that was when things got complicated and i started imagining doing it with the same sex. i actually had an experience with a male cousin. i won’t go into any details, but let’s just say he was the initiator. but right now he’s already married. we actually sort of had a small talk about it and he just said “mga bata pa tayo nun. di natin alam ginagawa natin.”
anyway, currently, i think i’m bi (or maybe i’m just in denial) but i want to go back to being straight again (as if there is a magic pill that can actually do that).
well, i hope this bit of info will be enough.
thanks again, Ayedee Ace
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Dear Dr. Ayedee Ace,
Your first letter struck me, because while you were asking questions about the meaning of your friends’ actions, I knew in my gut you had something else in mind. Well, as you yourself revealed in your second letter, indeed there was something else. That you are bisexual, perhaps “gay but in denial,” and is wanting to become straight if at all possible.
This is what I want to tell you: self-awareness is key. It is not about labeling — bi? gay? straight? confused? For now, I tell you, it does not matter. What matters is being more and more aware of your real self. What do you want? What does your inner self tell you?
You generously shared the story about your abusive past. I congratulate you for being honest and up front about it. It is the past, and you cannot go back to change anything. It is the past, yet it gives you some way to understand how you are right now. The challenge though is realizing the following: your past is not you. Your past provides good context for better understanding of yourself, but you have a choice, you have the power of volition, and therefore can choose how your past would influence your present, and your future. You can choose to let your past be a prison cell, you can choose to let it be your scapegoat, you can choose to let it be your cloud of haze, or you can choose it to be just a story of how it was before, but not the continuing plot of your present and future story.
You are, as that poem/song says, “the captain of your ship.” And I repeat my invitation to be more self-aware. I believe awareness is self-correcting. In your journey, as you become more aware of where you are, and the direction your ship is sailing, you also become a more powerful captain, able to adjust your rudder, even bit by bit, and steer your ship to that place where you can be the best you can be.
Aye, aye, captain Ayedee! Your truth will guide you.
World Peace! – Migs