The Journey Forward | Bowen Marshall
“LIVE YOUR LIFE, LIVE YOUR LIFE, LIVE YOUR LIFE." These are the words of the late Maurice Sendack, author of Where the Wild Things Are and one of our gay brothers who passed from us this past year. He said this toward the end of his journey to tell those younger than him what he believed must compel us on our journeys through life.
In our first issue, I wrote about the choice we have in embarking on the journey of coming out of the closet and coming in to embracing the mosaic of beauty that all LGBTQA people have within us. I now want to focus on that moment after we fling open the closet door and step into the future of who we are.
The journey ahead is terrifying and one that seems filled with tremendous loss, mourning, and acceptance. We know it will require us to be brave — braver than we have ever been before. While we fear that we may not have it in us to set forth, we do — you and I — for it is on this journey that we find hope blazing like the sun on a summer afternoon, illuminating all the parts of us that we were scared to see, scared to touch, and scared to be.
The journey of living our lives requires that we be. And being, though deceptively simple, is no easy task.
It requires the loss of a known path, the straight forward path, and a mourning of who we thought we were going to become.
It requires that we build a sense of self from an understanding deeply grounded in acceptance. Acceptance that we like the same sex, multiple sexes, or that our true self may outshine the sex to which we were born or the gender to which we were assigned.
And then we change, the world changes, and the journey of discovering ourselves saves us. It becomes a path of cherishing ourselves, of proclaiming our beauty to the world, of living our lives, of hope for a new and expansive future that will unfold in a celebration of pride, and love — real earth-shattering love — the likes of which once you have felt, you never forget.
In all the pain (and there will be pain), in all the moments of confusion, of stumbles, and of quiet moments of sorrow, we find that in being on this journey we are the lucky ones.
Our stories have not yet found their endings and every day we wake up to new beginnings.
What if childhood began this way? What if we began our journeys being told to live our lives, our authentic lives, and to run from those forces and those expectations that would seek to twist and to force us into persons we do not recognize? I believe that day is coming.
Surely the years will roll, and in living our lives, in traveling our journeys we will shorten the time, and the pain it takes for those who come after us to travel the path to who they are. This is why you must “live your life” because in doing so, you honor yourself and those who follow.