Thursday, July 5, 2012

On the Concept of Shame as a Societal Control (or -- Stupid Shit That Freaks Us Out) by T.C. Blue

This is my first day doing this (obviously), and I clearly don't know what's expected of me. Probably not a post title that sounds like a particularly boring thesis for an excruciatingly mind-numbing required course in college, though, right?

So before I dive into this, let me take a moment to introduce myself.

My name is T.C. Blue (for those who might be wondering, the T stands for Tisienne, and the C for Corana), and I'm fortunate enough to have been included in the regular roster for this blog. I am truly honored to be surrounded by (in alphabetical order) Cardeno C, Scotty Cade, Kiernan Kelly, and D.W. Marchwell, all of whom I had read and adored long before this endeavor was even an idea. They amaze me, every single time.

Okay, so enough with the blowing smoke up various orifices, right? Let's get to the meat of the matter (no pun intended… really *heh*).

I came into this with no idea about what I was going to write for my initial post. I still had no clue as of eleven p.m. last night. Then I had a conversation with a friend of mine (not you, Josh!) and realized that I actually do have something to say. This friend isn't someone I speak with every day, either. We talk maybe twice a year, these days.

Now, in order to get to my points and such, I need to give you all a bit of backstory.  (I know, I know. That's boring, right? I'll keep it as short and sweet as I can. Promise! :D)

This friend, who I love dearly, is one of the few people who's known me since my teen years, and as such, he -- surprise, surprise, he's a he -- knows and has experienced things with me that no one else has. We were wild, crazy, completely out of control for many, many years together. We know things about each other that… well, HE would blush at if I ever mentioned them in public. For purposes of this post, we'll call him D. (This in no way correlates to his actual name, by the way; it's because the first time we met, I thought "Damn, that boy is FINE." Thus, D for Damn.)

In any case, as I said, we did some stupid-crazy shit and managed to live through it. Myself? I'm proud of that. D? Not so much.

So we were on the phone and talking about something or other that reminded me of one of our many escapades. Me being me, I said what I was thinking, which was something along the lines of "Hey, remember when you and I fought over that boy who…"

D cut me off. "I don't have any idea what you're talking about."

Me: "You can't have forgotten, D. It was the first time we ever had a real fight and we didn't speak for almost a month because of it!" (Sidenote: This was not the first or last time I had an argument with a friend, over a boy, that resulted in silence for weeks. Sad but true.)

D: "I'm sure you THINK that happened, but it didn't. And even if it did, I don't have any recollection of that event. If I DID remember it, I wouldn't ever say so, so… fuck it. What are you doing this weekend?"

Now, what this actually means is that D doesn't WANT to remember and apparently thinks denying it ever happened means it really didn't. Granted, the situation with the boy I mentioned got sort of filthy and dirty and more than a little bit weird, but whatever. It was what it was. I'm neither bothered nor ashamed.

D, on the other hand, is both. Bothered and ashamed, I mean.  That much was made crystal clear by his reaction to that one tiny mention of something a little bit shady that was also entirely fun, even if it did leave me with the feeling that I was dirty, myself (in the best possible way).

This whole situation got me thinking, of course, and I threw out a few other "remember when we…" comments. Each of them garnered a similar uncomfortable response of "no." (Before you start thinking I'm evil for poking poor D in the morals, please know that while I really AM evil, that's not why. I was honestly trying to figure out what had D so disturbed when I'm not.)

So after the phone call ended with a sudden but deliberate silence -- and y'know, it's nowhere near as satisfying to end a call by pressing a button as it is to slam down the receiver, which I'm sure D would agree with -- I found myself pondering, trying to figure out why D and I have such different reactions to our shared past. I'm still not sure I've really figured it out, but I'm going to go ahead and share what I think I believe right now.

D grew up in a conservative family, meaning they were not only conservative with regards to politics, but religion, as well. My own family was somewhat liberal, though there were definite ideas about gender roles.

D came out to his family when he was fifteen, and it didn't go well. I, on the other hand, had to assure my mother that I wasn't a lesbian, which makes no sense really because when D's folks put him out for COMING out, my family refused to let him stay with us because they thought we were fucking. (Yeah, take a moment to ponder the inherent contradiction there. Bizarre, right?)

And blah-blah-blah… fast forward to today.

D is ashamed of his life. Of the things that led him to become the man he is now. I'm not even sure he LIKES who he is, and that's a damned shame. He's fucking awesome. He's smart, funny, and wittier than pretty much anyone I know. He's also woefully insecure and feels the need to defend himself pretty much any time he opens his mouth, as far as I can tell. (Again, this is a damned shame.)

So what does any of this have to do with the subject line. You're all asking yourselves that, right? Can't say as I blame you. The answer is…

D still cares about what people in general think of him. It bothers him that I could -- never would, but COULD -- tell tales of the things we both did, back in the day. He worries about what 'people' (such a nebulous term, really, because people come in all flavors and there really isn't any 'everyone' as far as I've been able to tell) will think of him if they know.

I'm the opposite, in that I'm not ashamed of anything I've ever done. Do I wish I'd made some different choices over the years? NO. Because I like the me I am today. If I changed even one of the things I did, who can say whether I'd be someone I could like right now? Maybe I'd be miserably unhappy and scared all the time.

The thing is, 'society' tells us we should be THIS and not that. We should LIKE this and not that. We should WANT this, not that. You get the drift. And when we aren't 'this', don't like 'this', want something other than 'this'? We're conditioned to pretend otherwise.

'Society' says we shouldn't be different; that we should blend in and be normal, whatever the fuck that means.

Society shames us, with the simple assumption that we're homogenized and interchangeable. With the idea that we all want and need the same things. With the concept that if we're different, we're somehow lacking or lesser or twisted or wrong.

D, as most others, actually believes this. At least, it seems he does.

Someone asked me the other night about what I believe. In the sexual sense, rather than religiously (that's a whole other subject that none of you want me to get into; trust me on that). We MAY have been talking about kinks at the time, just to be clear. But regardless of the subject, I stand by my words.

"There's no shame in anything that two or more grown men or women or any combination thereof get up to. As long as everyone wants to be there and nobody gets hurt any more than they want to, it's all good. Shame is something we feel because… even though every single person in the world has their own kinks, they're afraid to admit it. That's why so many 'respectable' people keep getting caught propositioning people of the same gender or beating up hookers or whatever. Because they're hiding. If people would just own up to who they are and what they want, they'd be able to find partners who want whatever it is they're offering." (Paraphrasing myself, but that's the gist of it.)

For the record, in case anybody thinks I'm full of shit with this whole 'admit things and move on' platform of mine, if you ask me something, I'll answer. Truthfully. I have no secrets, and therefor? I have no shame. Being shameless is a beautiful thing. It doesn't have to be part of the stupid shit that freaks us out. I reserve that for spiders in my house.

Just saying.

1 comment:

  1. Well said, Tis. I think that's been the trouble with humankind since we first fell out of the trees and realized how much fun our naughty bits could be.

    People tend to come pre-baked with the delusion that sameness = normalcy, and different = dangerous. Maybe it dates back to survival issues of different tribes, disputes over hunting grounds, etc. Politics and religion are rife with it. Believe what I believe, or be damned.

    It's a shame about your friend. It must be hell to live your life ashamed of who you are. Self-acceptance is a fundamental key to being happy.