This is going to be in part therapy for me, in part a chance to connect with other gay men who are experiencing the ageing process and not really being prepared for it and partly a chance to write daily, in another medium besides my journal or Morning Pages. I will explain both of those things soon.
Today’s entry is going to be to very brief introduction of myself.
I am Terry Clark and I am a retired teacher, and I am gay.
I was married twice to women and have two grown sons from the first marriage. It is great having children because I do have the sense that I have a lifeline when I need them and also that I am the go to guy for them in some situations. I am also the fifth of six children with two older brother, Butch and Chuck, and I am called Terry. It was hard growing up knowing I was gay and having brothers who not only had those very masculine names but played football and hockey and I just wanted to take dance and figure skating lessons. Neither of those things would happen for a boy in a small town like Simcoe, Ontario in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s.
My first marriage was right out of high school and I did it partly because I moved to Toronto and was lonely and didn’t have the self confidence to look for the gay community in 1965 so I got married to prove I wasn’t gay. We were married for eleven years before having children, and stayed married for almost twenty years. My second marriage was to a woman seven years older than me who had way more money than I did. We lived together for two years and were married for seven years before I left. We had no children. Before I left I told both of my wives and my children I was gay and just could not live a straight life style any longer. That was fourteen years ago in 1995.
Since then I have lived by myself except for the first two years when my sons lived with me and for two years when I lived with a gay friend as a boarder basically. There was nothing sexual but there were many good conversations about being gay with two different points of view. He has never married and was going through the process of telling his parents that he was gay. He agonized over telling them. His parents had always been very supportive and after telling them he was gay they continued to be just as supportive. While he was going through that I was almost envious of him, because my parents had both died by the time I faced up to telling my family and I am sure they would have encouraged me to be who the person I really wanted to be.
My parents bought me a doll’s house for Christmas when I was four or five years old. They watched me sit on the front porch of the house and knit, without any apparent embarrassment. When I told them I was getting married and I was only eighteen years old my mother cried for a week. I am pretty sure she knew I shouldn’t be getting married but did not have the confidence nor the vocabulary to tell me. I think I remember something about “…sow some wild oats.” I of course did not read between the lines nor make an attempt at independence.
There will more about how I dealt with, coped with and rationalized the next thirty years of my life as a gay man pretending to be straight as well as how I made it through the public school system at a time when being gay was certain to mean being a social outcast .