Coming Out Alive; a continuing narrative.
I am a Person Too!
by Thomas Eugene Krawford Jr.
I am a person too; and those who look like me, look just like you.
Yeah, my father talked to me when I was a baby When no one was looking he talked to me in strange mixtures of Japanese and Cherokee; Spanish and French; German and Italian; and who knows, maybe even Latin and Greek.
I cannot remember.
Yeah, my father was a bit of a trickster. He liked doing things just to see what would happen.
My Old Man!
Yet, all that said; I am a Person Too; maybe not quite like you; but those who look like me, look just like you; and aren’t they people; as well?
Today at work, a co-worker and I got to talking. I was about ready to complete my shift, they were just beginning theirs. Like many places these days of supply shortages, the college dormitory where we both work has run out of toilet paper, and we both agreed that no toilet paper in a college dorm does not just sound bad; potentially it could be both disastrous and horribly costly for everyone.
As we talked, our conversation got around to why some of the students, some of the time, pooped and peed and vomited all over the public restrooms we Custodians are charged with performing at least one daily cleaning.
I held that Erick Erickson’s Eight Stages of Psychosocial Development: especially his first two stages of Trust versus Mistrust and Autonomy versus Shame, were crucial in getting to a general perspective of why people at this stage seek to mark their territory and compete for dominance amongst their peers; something that is of particular importance to those in the eighteen to twenty years age group; the bracket most resident students of this dormitory, of course, fall into.
My co-worker however took the position that Bowlby, and much later, Ainsworth promoted in both the theory and theme of the importance of early emotional bonds; that Attachment Theory by definition points the answer to why kids poop and pee and make all kinds of messes in a college dorm; more closely connects to the Separation Anxiety the student/resident may be experiencing after inevitable distancing from the primary caregiver the resident student more closely identifies with; that is what finally gives rise to “acting out” behavior, but I still disagreed.
I was hung up on a couple of points.
First, there is that .5 differential in Erickson’s evaluative framework tool; between the first two stages of Trust versus Mistrust, at zero to one and a half years; and Autonomy versus Shame, at one and a half years to three years of age. The implied Standard Deviation suggests that in some respects at least, Erickson’s Framework, his suggested metric was much more accurate on the whole; for example, in explaining the possible reasons why male first-year college students consistently urinate on toilet seats in a public restroom where they and others reside.
Bowlby’s Attachment Theory would have us believe the reason had much to do with a missing caregiver the male student felt more closely attached to, but his framework does not adequately account for whether the missing caregiver for the male student was either male or female and why or how the so-called acting out behavior could be associated with the absence of either mother or father.
At any rate, here we are again; nearing the end of yet another installment of a much larger manuscript about Coming Out and again I have to ask myself, after reading what I wrote, rewrote, and rewrote again; what does any of this have to do with my being a Homosexual Black American Male in the Ann Arbor Michigan; of The Winter of 2022?
Well, I don’t think any sexual identity, either Gay or Straight or somewhere in between, can be solely fetishized into some simply crafted cookie-cutter-one-size-fits-all mold, where you just add water or some similar medium to attain the desired effect; inject the form into the mold; then stamping and pressing that form into a perfectly finished product; put that outcome, whatever it turns out to be, on its feet; then giving that product marching orders to perform, or else; expect brilliant results; almost as if identity could ever be the result of an assembly-line mentality.
Both theories; Erickson’s Frameworks, and Bowlby’s (and later Ainsworth’s) critical responses to those hypothetical structures of description in the more imperfect form of Attachment Arguments; would decry this approach. Yet, just where does the rubber meet the road here; especially when we consider such intangibles as sincerity and commitment to something much bigger than oneself?
Today was Sunday at work. One of the resident students asked me in passing: are you seriously duct-taping restroom card reader consoles, effectively closing those restrooms down? I looked at him without smiling and quoted Bo Schembechler: it’s all for the team, the team, the team.
“I didn’t want to leave more work for my teammates coming after me,” I told him with a straight face. “Than I had too.”
I am not quite sure if that was an adequate enough explanation; and sitting here in my apartment, early on a Sunday evening, I expect that sooner or later, my boss will instruct me to stop getting in student’s way; in that particular way.
I don’t know, but maybe being Gay is just another way of thinking outside the box; especially when one feels the box; certain narratives, predispositions, or even prejudices; are just too small for one’s sense of self-worth and value effectiveness to allow to go unchallenged.
If I am a person too; and those who look like me, look just like you; then aren’t we all People?
I guess I’ll figure it out as we go.
Until then, thanks for reading and I will see you next time.