When I decided to keep my blog going a third year, I decided to narrow my focus in themes I would explore.
I also, with the intensified sense of years rushing by, decided to write in a genre that has been familiar and reassuring to me since I was seven years old: poetry.
Posting a new poem nearly every week reminds me of a 15-year stretch in my life when I was a writer dedicated to reading and creating poetry in elementary, middle and high school, college, and a couple years of postgraduate studies. My days back then were exciting as I discovered a new poem, rediscovered a favorite poet, or created new verses on my own. I gained confidence I lacked in so many other parts of my life. I won awards. The best part for me was that it came pretty naturally, like hitting a lefty forehand in tennis. I rarely had to think too hard about writing poems, and believe me, I’m an overthinker!
Growing up with a great deal of verbal and physical abuse for being identified as gay, even though I was not yet sure I was, a quiet room where I could write poems or tennis courts were usually the places where I felt safe.
A few followers of this blog have asked me about my thoughts about the testimonies this week before the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. They have also wondered about my opinions about the recent US Open final and Naomi Osaka. They understand my goal in the third year of my blog. But they’ve also said they miss reading my thoughts about tennis and other issues to which I have a personal attachment.
I think I’ll hold off about identifying, as a middle-aged gay man, with Christine Blasey Ford. In a way, it’s too personal right now. I’ve been crying a lot this week. My admiration for Dr. Ford is boundless.
I’ve gone back and forth about Serena. Just when I thought I had finally made up my mind about the US Open final, I read a wonderful article by Cara McClellan.
I was the guy on his high school tennis team whose teammates snickered during my matches or actually rooted for my opponent to “beat the fag.” The coaches stood by silently. They never interrupted the matches. They never asked for the remarks, laughter, or snickering to stop.
It was tough to hold my head high, not to cry, to focus on the individual point, to be a fair sport. Fortunately, my role models were Althea Gibson, Evonne Goolagong, Björn Borg, Arthur Ashe, Chris Evert.
To my mind, Serena Williams is an outstanding role model. She has every right to speak up. The more she does, the more she helps anyone who has been taunted, ridiculed, faced discrimination, been traumatized, whose behavior has been mischaracterized.
I feel bad that Naomi could not fully celebrate her well-deserved victory. She also has a fascinating life story, and I’m sure that even in her young age she has faced more than her share of stumbling blocks on her path to greatness.
What gives me hope, even with all the tears I’ve shed this week, is the courage shown by Dr. Ford, Serena, and Naomi. I hope my opening up as much I have in my blog and my poems — which has been difficult at times — has been worthwhile for all of you who are reading them.