The Serenity by the Sea Round-Up in Provincetown this past weekend was, for me at least, a smashing success and an emotionally draining experience. The quantity and quality of workshops was stunning and there were about 850 sober gay men and women who attended. There was some sadness for me, however.
After having spent so much time in P’town as a child I was nervous about going back. I had been back as an ‘out’ man, but never sober, so that was a first. So many things had changed that I grew a bit wistful on the first day, but I realized that this sort of romantic drama only leads me to a drink. My solution was to try to re-disciver P’town as a sober gay man and ‘take it back’, so to speak. So I did. I walked around town Thursday morning , took some pictures and bought a lovely little painting of a dune scape. I have successfully made the town ‘mine’ again and left the ghosts behind.
I went top quite a few workshops and shared at almost all of them. My favorite and the most powerful was on the subject of “Homophobia”-not the external brand (although this is the source) but rather internalized homophobia and self-hatred. I know that this form of pain comes from years of being brainwashed by straight culture and bullies from as far back as 3rd grade. Having been called a ‘fairy’ or ‘faggot’, ‘pansy’ or ‘queer’ all my life by teachers (yes, teachers–adults!) and classmates twisted my mind into thinking that I am bad, evil, not worthy, etc…I find it amazing that even today there are adults who would preach this kind of hate and pain as a value to be cherished. Nasty people. Just nasty. So this workshop was a great way to get in touch with that part of myself that still wants to think that way. Yes, I was brainwashed by straight culture. I don’t have to be today. I think a good way to alleviate this anguish is to cultivate my Inner Drag Queen. This doesn’t mean I’ll be in visible drag for all to see, but inwardly I will be celebrating the feminine. I have also learned that those people who cling to their homophobia as a source of power are doomed. They are really afraid of themselves and who they might be.
So it was a great weekend. I met some very cool folks, did not get laid (boohoo), but stayed sober though out.
I was also able to take some great pictures of some lighthouses with my medium format camera. Seven rolls of film plus two 35mm rolls and numerous digital captures. So it was a fabulous weekend! I hope to do it again next year, but we’ll see what HP has in store.