June 12, 2012

No, That’s Perfect. I Just Never Realized John Wayne Walks Like That.

CJ hadn’t seen The Birdcage (I know, right?) so we watched it together a few days ago. The movie is still lovely, but I just found the experience really interesting. The last time I watched The Birdcage was many years ago, when I was still kind of in the closet, hiding, and scared. Now I’m where I am now, and I totally felt differently about the characters.

I distinctly remember not thinking that Val, the son who wants his dads to hide how gay they are to impress his fiancee’s parents, was a huge asshole originally. When I watched the movie now, I was overwhelmed by how much of a dick he was. Sure, in the end, he gets caught and does the right thing once there would be serious, overwhelming consequences not to. But he literally waits until the last possible moment to claim his dads for who they are. He does it because he’s backed into a corner, not because he’s proud of them. He really comes off like a terrible person.

I didn’t used to think that. I understood the incredible fear that coming out of the closet involves. I was hiding, and scared to actually get out and be myself because I expected to be shot down and smacked down for being who I was. Going to such lengths to “tone myself down” and “not rock the boat” made sense to me, even if they sucked.

Now, that’s no longer the case. I associated myself with Armand and Albert so much more than I used to this time around. When Armand told his son “Fuck them, I worked hard to be able to be myself, and I’m not giving that up,” I was like “FUCK YES! Damn right you did!” Because I’ve done that too. When Albert gets really, really hurt about everyone trying to sneakily keep him away from the party so they wouldn’t be embarrassed, I felt that hurt a ton more than I did before, because my mother has done that same exact thing to me. I couldn’t believe their son would hurt them so much, even in the name of love.

I guess things really have changed a lot. I don’t always realize it, but my life is so much different, and so much better. Sometimes it takes something like that, an old experience revisited, to make me see it.

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