In the fall I began dating again. It was very difficult at first, and nothing really got off the ground. The funny thing was that I was set up by a church member, and I wasn't even "out" to the church member!
I started reading new stuff. I called this my "intellectual phase." I began with Gay Unions by Gray Temple, which argues for gay equality within the Episcopal Church. It said some interesting things about the history of sexuality, so I bought and read all three volume of Michel Foucault's A History of Sexuality. While looking for copies of that a Half-Price Books, I picked up a volume on the history of Gay Literature and another book of social commentary from the queer perspective. Both were eye-opening to me. They taught me a lot of history that I didn't know and really gave me a sense of pride that I hadn't had before. They also made me even stronger about our rights and what was unique about the gay experience. So I began to buy even more books and read even more, especially some of the classics by gay writers or with gay themes.
After the Thanksgiving experience, I felt even more confident. December was a period of reflection upon the year that had just passed. I made some important resolves and tied up some loose knots. Writing my Christmas letter is always an important exercise that compels me annually to reflect. This year I had long puzzled how to write the letter. Unfortunately the only thing I could decide to do was to write two versions. One version left off everything related to my coming out. The second version added that on at the end. When I sent them out, I realized how many people I was close to who still didn't know. I felt I had told so many, but there was a long way to go. One high school friend found out about version B, though she had received version A, and felt hurt.
The e-mails, cards, and letters related to my coming out journey were beginning to pile up. So I spent a few days collecting and organizing all of it into a binder. That had been the plan all year, but I had not gotten around to it. The process was very therapeutic and allowed for incredible moments of reflection. Reading through the thing was, at times, sobering or exciting. In the process I realized all the mistakes I had made in my relationship and sent a card with a simple apology. About a month later we began talking again.
The night the Village Station re-opened as S4, I went. I had never really been out on the town in Dallas. While there I ran into the first gay person I had known, the friend from OBU who had been kicked out for being gay. We hadn't seen each other in a decade.
The week after Christmas I spent with Mom and Revis on a fishing trip and then back in OKC. One night I celebrated my anniversary of being out. The odd paradox of my life at this time was that in Oklahoma I was fully out. Here I lived more of a gay life -- for example, everytime I was in town I'd meet up with Timothy at the bars. Whereas most Oklahomans are closeted and are out when they are in Dallas, I was the reverse.
The new year began with me more confident, more self-assured, and more fully experiencing and enjoying the newness of life.