Monday, July 31, 2006

A Change of Mind

I've written before about the oddness of having totally different, yet concurrent mindsets. I've just seen an article on the BBC website which has reminded me yet again how completely different my thinking is now, compared with my teenage and early twenty-something years (my pre-'out' period).

The article draws similarities between the American missile strike in Qana and their strike on Baghdad in the first Gulf War in 1991. Each time scores of innocents were knowingly killed, not by 'them', but by 'us'. I find it hard to imagine that in 1991 I was moved enough to complain about Jeremy Bowen's coverage of the story and yet now I'm joining in the near-universal condemnation of what the Israelis are doing and have done there above all. And yet I also look back into the late 80s and early 90s and find a great deal which is (bizarrely) incompatible with who I am now: my worldview, my politics, my attractions. I always thought of myself as mature for my age as I was growing up, and yet I didn't slough off my childhood and the unchallenged views you pick up from your parents, until I was in my early twenties. I find myself strange.

It seems so strange that the act of coming out to myself should have shattered and begun to shatter so many aspects of the way I was and transform them into who I am today. I suppose it's a rite of passage - for many at school it was having sex with their first girlfriend (which I knew from an early age disinterested me), or their first cigarette. I resisted my first rite of passage until I was 24 and now accept I fancy boys, wouldn't vote Tory if my life depended on it and condemn utterly what Israel is doing to Lebanon in general and most recently to Qana in particular.

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