Serenely raging

God, give me grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things which should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.
Those are the original words of what has become known as the Serenity Prayer, attributed to Catholic theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, although he could not remember with certainty that he wrote them. There are actually several lines after that about enjoying the moment and surrendering to God's will. Most people are familiar with a briefer, somewhat altered version that comes from Alcoholics Anonymous.

The serenity Prayer is one of those bits of folk wisdom that many people just accept as true. I'm a bit contrarian, and there is little that I don't question. For one thing, I think wisdom is overrated. Same for serenity. More importantly, what about those things that this wisdom says cannot be changed? What if they are completely unacceptable? Might it not be better to tilt at windmills on the off chance that you might actually do more good than if you were to become serenely accepting of the unacceptable?

Here are the words of a writer more after my own heart:
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Dylan Thomas wrote that poem for his dying father. But since death is the end of every life, and we're all on the path toward it, perhaps it's never too early to start raging. I'm pretty sure there will be an overabundance of serenity in death. Nothingness is pretty serene. I'm more in favour of raging against the unacceptable than accepting it serenely.

I'm approaching an age when I'm supposed to have acquired some amount of wisdom. And I think I have. I don't rage against nearly as many things as I did when I was younger. I choose my battles. But I don't think I will ever be ready to become serenely boring. That would feel like death to me.

I have changed many things in my life that obviously could be changed, including things I thought at first could NOT be changed. Therein lies the danger in going too quickly to acceptance. Perhaps wisdom is incorrect, at least sometimes. Perhaps an object that seems immovable can, in fact, be budged. Perhaps a problem that seems intractable can, in fact, be solved. Going too quickly to acceptance might prevent us from learning that something can be changed.

I intend to live until I die.


Twice as nice

It's Bisexuality Day. Or Bisexual Pride Day. Or something like that. A day for bisexuals, at any rate. A day for us to say we're proud of who we are, or at the very least unashamed. I'm never sure if "pride" is really the right word for something like sexual orientation. It's not an accomplishment! It just is.

Most people grow up realizing that they find people of the opposite sex to be sexually attractive. They know this because their bodies tell them so. The signs are unmistakable. And we have no more control over this attraction than we do over our heartbeats.

Others, far fewer, realize at some point that their bodies are telling them a different story. Despite being surrounded by a predominantly heterosexual world, they realize that they find people of the same sex to be sexually attractive. That's just the way it is.

It's strange when you realize, or maybe acknowledge, that you're not like the others. But at least it makes sense in a way. Same instead of opposite. It's either/or, and we're used to either/or. How much stranger it is when you realize that for you, it's actually both/and! When you realize that she stirs you and he stirs you in very similar ways.

Maybe you can't imagine that. A lot of people seem not to be able to. Or they deny that it's possible. But the body does not lie. Those of us who feel this way know that the doubters and accusers are wrong. They don't get it. And really, if it's not about you, then it's not, and just shut up. We know ourselves.

The funny thing is that even though it's strange to start with, soon it seems pretty normal, and it becomes more difficult to imagine that a person can go through life finding every single member of half of the human race to be sexually unattractive. Obviously that's true for the vast majority, but it still seems strange to me.

I can no longer imagine being any other way. Not looking for converts though. We all have to do what makes us happy and what our bodies tell us to do. You can't force it. I think all sexual attraction is a marvelous thing. Mine is no more marvelous than anyone else's. But certainly no less so.