Sam

About a year into writing my memoir, one of my best friends back home set me back.  Why do you need to write about that? was her first question.  Fair enough.  Then, with more concern, But do you need to publish it?  Maybe you could write a fun novel.  You know, fictionalize it.  Make stuff up.  And then, because she seemed to feel I wasn’t listening to her concerns, came, I’m serious.  What if your family never speaks to you again?

Why, but, maybe, what if…

 

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Michael Sam, football star at the University of Missouri, has announced he’s a gay man and wants to play in the NFL.  When I heard this news last night, I thought, “Good for him for just speaking his truth.  How brave.”  After all, his teammates at Missouri have known at least for the past year; it doesn’t seem to bother them; they had an incredible season; and Michael Sam is a leader, an integral member of their team.  He’s expected to go in the 3rd round of the draft.

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While a few pros have already come out in support of Sam for his forthrightness, for his openness, for his choosing not to hide with shame and fear, a few others have already openly said things like, But I don’t want to be with him in the locker room.  What if I’m getting dressed next to him and he looks at me funny?  (Admittedly, I’ve always thought this was the most narcissistic of arguments:  So you think that EVERY human on earth, attracted to men, will want to bed you?   *scratches head*)  And yet another who said, with a childish chuckle, something about Sam not being a real man.

It’s 5 years on, and my friend has stopped asking me about the writing of my memoir.  Maybe it’s been so long that she figures I’ve given up on the whole idea.  Maybe she’s just hoping I’ve  been taught a lesson along the way and have decided to keep my mouth (and my pen) shut.  But the truth is that no matter her very real concerns or even honorable intentions, I can’t help but wonder why we are so relieved when people maintain a shiny surface and keep their “private business” to themselves.

Congratulations to Michael Sam for not choosing to live in fear, and for speaking his truth.  Congratulations to Michael Sam for standing up and being a man, and to his young teammates who support him.  We should all be cheering for them.

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6 thoughts on “Sam

  1. Josey

    I’m in awe of this guy. For real, to come out this side of the draft after living his entire life for football (presumably). So much freakin’ courage.

    So I have this dialogue all the time in head, the one about answering the question “why write about it? why put it out there?” b/c when was forced to have the conversation, i wished i had said other things. things like, “what if every other writer followed this advice? what if we all chose not to tell one story or another because somebody thought it may be too much? what stories would there be? what books? what movies? what songs? we’d all fall into a vacuum, never connecting, never sharing. our lives would become deep dark holes, all of us scared to share the events that caused us pain or hurt others…sharing being the only escape from pain. what if we all followed such horrible advice? it’d be one big ocean of hurt w/out a raft in sight.”

    instead of saying what I should have, i deleted what i wrote and have carried it around with me like a pissed off monkey clinging to my back.

  2. Catherine

    I’m with you on the narcissistic comment. Brave man and good example for others who may be cowering and suffering. This is a completely different tangent – about sexism in society – great French film called Majorité Opprimée on YouTube

    And as for you suppressing in order to protect others – don’t!!

  3. Averil Dean

    I’ve come to realize that some people really do not want to be disturbed. If you write or say anything that shakes them awake, they will resent the hell out of it and let you know. There is no appropriate answer to the question, Why write THAT when you could write something nice? People either see the value in honesty or they don’t. I think we have to write for the people who are willing to look at the world squarely and say to them, Look, here’s what I witnessed, what do you think about that?

    1. Teri Post author

      There is so much truth in your first sentence, Averil. Nobody wants to be disturbed, to have our collective pot stirred.

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