OK that was NOT my reaction with what I did. In fact it did not hit my mental wall till 24 hours later or so. I have to admit, maybe with a wee bit of snobbishness that in the many years I have been on the web (Remember AOL hostess? Ya I did that!) I have never regretted anything I posted. And then number of letters sent, humm well I can at least say the count down to still two hands. pretty good cuz I write dozens a day. But, posting, sigh…. I actually did post something I regret. I posted a man buck naked in santa hat and black boots hang out in the Castro. Nope not drunk, just showing off, perfectly legal, naked as a Jay Bird Naked. I laughed and like the others, snapped one “good” photo of him, meaning not blurry. I photoshopped a shinny bow I photo graphed also from a palm tree (at least I had the sense to do that). And gave him a christmas bow bikini. Now I am Hanging my head. My oldest, Mom, just delete it… I told my son, honey, once its out there, that’s it, its out there. There is no real “delete”.
So what the heck did I do? My dear lady friend Elizabeth Phalen first brought this to my sharp attention when she said “I’m offended. So should you be.” Like me, she is a devote Catholic, unlike me she was brought up that way. She also brought up the fact I am a religious education teacher. I kept coming back to her comment on and off this Merry Day and thought, hummm Why did I post that, really?
I wanted to show I could be just as Blase San Francisco as everyone else?
Hey I am ‘Hip” to it, its legal so what!
He’s not hurting anybody…
In my very weak defense I was coming down off of nebulizer and on preiszone after a bad asthma attack and a small fire in my apartment that started all this, (from a dryer not a tree). I blame that in part for my lost of good judgement. I digress…
Anyway, my friend Elizabeth said “I’m offended. So should you be.” The fact was, my first gut reaction WAS offended. Then I thought, hey, you are a grown woman, snap out of it. (Actually I did not see any smiles in the crowd of mostly Gay men either). Have we gone too far in trying NOT to be offended when perhaps there are somethings we should say. Whoa, wait, THIS is offensive. I am not ashamed of the human body, I think it can be a glorious beautiful gift from God to behold. I am an artist, who has done hours of life drawings of people from all walks of life in all shapes and manners. So it was NOT his naked body that offended me, it was his attitude, “Yes, I am flashing my flesh, ha ha you saw me, tah tah, look at me, you saw this didn’t you, haha!” THAT was what I found offensive. He was being provocative on purpose. I doubt he would have said he saw it that way, but that was how I read his movements and poses. By posting his photo I basically enabled him to spread his dis-ease. That was where I really went over the line. I lost my judgement there. I was trying to be funny because IT IS in someways “Classic San Francisco”. But only in the tawdry low way.
The next day we had to go back to the Walgreen Pharmacy (the reason we were there in the area on Christmas Eve in the first place, (although one of my favorite Japanese Restaurants are there too), was to get medication and I saw all around me, young children, families, grandmas, grandmas, and yes, many many Catholics. I thought, if that man showed up NOW, how would I have felt? I would have wanted to call the police, but wouldn’t because legally nothing could be done. I would be angry, because what he is doing is not a thing of beauty, but destruction, in his sickness I do not think he could understand why.
My sin was to participate in his sickness. My sin was to not stand up for the Light in Christ and say, no, this is wrong. He is not facing a person he loves, he is not being done for art, he is not simply in some other form of beauty, but a blatant form of perverted power to taunt and provoke. We all sometimes participate in these kinds of things. Might not be a naked person. It could be someone offering an offensive off colored joke, we let it slide. Don’t want to make waves right, don’t want to appear uptight? Or offensive comments about yours or another faith. Silence, hey no one wants to be known for being overly religious, especially at work. Maybe instead you could be known as a peacemaker. “Excuse me, can we please remember all minds and ideas of supreme beings or none, have to be respected in the work place?.” Offensive jokes about sex or body parts. “I doubt any woman here or men can really appreciate jokes that border on rape, bathroom sickness, I mean, seriously?”
We all say we want world peace, well, it begins in the home. Home does not mean where you only hang your hat at night. It means where you live at any one moment in your heart. So basically where are you right now? In that moment, is your “home” with those people. Be at home enough with them, to keep peace, make peace, be peace.
Merry Christmas and honestly, I do love you all in God.