Lately, coincidentally as Christmas draws near, I have been receiving a number of e-mails from men: lamenting their oftentimes horrendous childhoods – filled with stories about taunting, bullying, and even physical abuse by classmates, their siblings, and unfortunately, sometimes, their own parents. It’s gut-wrenching to read. Once again, it reminds me how blessed I have been. For, many years ago, I recall hearing similar tales of trauma from men, who albeit may have been somewhat effeminate or awkward as boys, that clearly affected them to the present day. I could only partially relate as I had grown up in the rather protected an insular world of the Catholic parochial school system. There were certainly mean-spirited and vicious children, but it was never allowed to get out of hand as often took place in the open-pits of the public schoolyard. Strangely enough, one year, I recollect watching the Rankin and Bass version of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” (1964) with a group of gay friends. At the time, I didn’t realize that the film had a surprising resonance with homosexual men. Watching, it became abundantly clear why: with Rudolph’s feelings of personal insecurity, his shame, and then the rejection by his peers and the macho reindeer coach. I will never forget my borderline transvestite friend likening himself to the neurotic little doll on the Island of Misfit Toys; a weird dumping ground for the universe’s disregarded and misshapen stuffed animals, model trains, pet birds, and so on. Right away, I though of The Castro. Later, I joked with my buddy a few times about it. But, oddly, that image always stayed with me. Because, at the same moment, it’s all sort of pathetic and tragic: the lonely lost boys, huddled on a forgotten and frigid prison, waiting for anyone to accept and love them. This mental situation breeds a peculiar sensation of claustrophobia and desperation: a desire to feel safe and protected in a secluded enclave, but also a longing to be wanted by the wider world.
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Thank you for not mentioning the Lost Boys in Neverland. That book gave me the willies. I also thank you for making connections many of us misd. T. W.
Poor lost boys. Years ago a Catholic priest was telling the story of his sister who suffered some persecution in the small town in India they came from. He told how he and their father muscled the bad guys into submission. Without thinking, I said, “Oh, I wish I had a father and a brother.” Father looked at me, and said, “This poor girl, she doesn't know who she is.” I learned quickly to love Jesus as my Brother, and God as my Father. But I didn't have that relationship until I met that priest. Once I had that relationship with God, my stepfather treated me like the dirt under the carpet as he always did. I was feeling hurt sitting in my mother's living room, and God the Father said, “When you get to my house, I will kill the fatted calf. I will put a ring on your finger. I will throw a party.” That helped me reorient and my stepfather's behavior didn't bother me any more. It's amazing what a relationship with God can do for you. God bless you. Susan Fox http://www.christsfaithfulwitness.com