NEVER SAY NEVER
For what seemed
like forever I had felt lost, alone, fighting within myself about
being gay, being disabled, being undesirable and unemployable. With
all the rejection I had experienced I feared I would be lonely and
alone for the rest of my life. I was desperate for change, but never
thought it could happen.
Then, about six
weeks ago, I wrote to an able-bodied guy who had joined the Disgaytalk
list. I don't think either of us expected much when we started corresponding;
now neither of us knows what happened, it all happened so fast.
I never thought that I could find someone anyonelet
alone someone so loving, caring and, maybe the hardest part, understanding.
Whoever is watching
over us sent me the most wonderful guy. He's made me happier than
I have ever been in my life. We enjoy doing the same things, and
he has even opened my eyes to pursuits I never thought I'd be able
to enjoy, like sailing with Foot Loose (a disabled sailing club
in Seattle), kayaking, and camping (crammed into a trailer but a
lot of fun).
You might say
that Dennis is just an ordinary guy, but because he accepts me,
loves me, his personality and character seem extraordinary. And
did I mention that he's really cute?!
Because of the
way my life has changed, everything seems full of surprises these
days. For one thing, Dennis belongs to a church that is totally
open and caring. I had never felt that kind of joy, either. Everyone
in the congregation is happy for him and for me, a big surprise.
They know that Dennis is gay, they know that I am gay, and they
don't care that we are together. No, that's wrong: they do care.
They are happy because we have found each other! I'll never forget
the first time everyone stood during the service for hymns. Everyone
but Dennis, that is. He didn't budge, just stayed sitting right
there next to me.
The first time
I stayed with Dennis, we were camping with his church group near
Bellingham, Washington. During those three days it was interesting
to see and hear how people reacted to us. Dennis and I had just
met, but people seemed to think that we were boyfriends or partners,
which must have been evidence of how well we treated one another
right from the start. After the camping trip, the pastor said he
thought that Dennis had finally found someone who could keep up
with him and his comments. Dennis loves to "jab" people verbally.
With me he gets it right back. It is great to have someone that
you can spar with, be with, and love every minute of it!
My efforts to
deal with my spasticity (my legs spasm constantly, day and night)
are still frustrating, but it feels good to have someone I can rely
on for support and understanding. My doctor is being such a pain
in the butt about it (literally), that I am considering trying to
find a surgeon in Mexico who is willing to alleviate the spasticity
At first Dennis
said he didn't understand. I think he disapproved of such a radical
solution (I'll admit it's scary), but after he was present for some
of the more violent spasms, he agreed with me that severing the
nerves might be better than living with that kind of constant and
painful disruptive activity.
I don't know
how I will be able to afford it, but I'm seriously considering it
as a last-ditch effort. It would make me more comfortable with myself
physically. Emotionally, too, it would improve things, since it's
tough to put up with the way people stare.
Because I have
lost the ability to ejaculate, I feared that I would be unable to
satisfy Dennis sexually, but he says that my lovemaking skills put
him over the top. Being able to make someone totally happy and satisfied
in this way is one more thing I thought I would never achieve. It's
difficult to communicate how good that makes me feel.
While Dennis and
I were out looking for a car for me recently, we began to discuss
what we were, what to call ourselves. Are we dating, are we boyfriends,
partners? We could not decide. On the way home Dennis mentioned
that he accidentally told the salesman that his "partner" needed
a car. Well, that explained the odd looks the salesman had given
me. I told Dennis that he had "accidentally" told three other salesmen
the same thing. He hadn't even realized it. We both figured that
kind of answered the question as to what we were! I have a partner!
We still have
to work out how we are going to live together. He even brought up
the issue of permanent commitmentmarriage. One night while
we were in bed, he blurted out that that we were having sex before
marriage. It caught us both off guard and we fell into hysterics.
And here's another
difference about my life that fits into the Big Surprise category.
I was miserable during all the years I denied who I was and "played"
hetero. When I came out, I thought my loneliness might end, but
all I found from gay men was rejection. Finally I have true love
and guess what? Instead of running away, even my straight friends
are happy for me. All of life's problems seem much easier to deal
with when you have someone to love and have friends that are not
afraid of you for being disabled and
Yesterday, a young
woman (I noticed she had a hearing problem) was getting off the
bus when she stopped, put her hand on my arm, and told me that I
was a very handsome man. Gee, what is the world coming to? I finally
admit who I am and now the "other" sex thinks that I am handsome.
One more proof of the strange twists and turns our lives take.
I've rambled here,
but I just had to tell you what it feels like to be on Cloud Nine
after being marooned for so long on Cloud Minus Nine. My guy came
in the most unusual way, totally by surprise, right out of the blue!
Love is wonderful, the greatest gift possible. Maybe it comes when
you stop looking for it. I don't know. I'm too happy to care!
©2002 Lynn Conner
Illustration: "Hands Rising" ©2002 Donald Mark
Let us know what
you think of this BENT feature.
writes, "I am an incomplete para on his way to becoming a para due
to a growth on my spine. Complications during surgery last year
resulted in the amputation of half of my left foot. I think my article
tells you everything else that seems important right now."
BENT: A Journal of CripGay