Today's photo is of Matan Koch. He's a Boston-based lawyer and former board member of the National Council on Disability. Throughout my adolescence he was my closest friend (and requisite straight boy crush). Thanks to the medication induced cognitive impairments I suffered during that time in my life, he is also one of a handful of people who act as keepers of my personal narrative.
Like many LGBTQ people, the life I live today is so incredibly different from that of my childhood peers that it's virtually impossible to find the common ground needed to maintain connections with people from my past. Between that and the fact that I'm awfully light on internal memories of the formative years from age fourteen to eighteen, my internal sense of self is built almost entirely on my adult experiences.
I just passed another birthday last week and as I find myself facing the imminent end of a hard-won career that I love, I spent the day reflecting (my husband would say obsessing) both on how wonderfully and terribly different life has been from what I may have foresaw as a boy or teen.
That's hardly unusual these days, but I do believe that being LGBTQ prepares us better for things going seriously cockeyed (sorry). We grow up in a society soaked in expectations around gender and sexuality. The moment we realize that we're going to be breaking from those expectations, we're more free to chart our own course through the world perhaps.
Even so, there are times when charting one's own course where it may become necessary to check one's bearings. One way that I do that is by touching base with someone who remembers the years of adolescence that I don't.
That's one reason why, when Matan invited me down to his place for a visit after almost ten years, I was eager to go. The other reason of course, is that somehow we manage to bridge the vast gulf between our beliefs and lived experience to maintain a rewarding personal connection.
Answers to the tough questions about the future may not be found in the past, but it doesn't hurt to check in now and again just in case.
Photo by E. Winter Tashlin/Winter Wind Photography
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