January 26, 2011

Me and Maury

Ok. So it's confession time. I have a teddy bear that I sleep with every night. His name is Maury Povich. Let me explain briefly how Maury came into my life and why he's named Maury. I promise this has a point. Just "bear" with me (lol get it?).

So it was the day after Halloween last semester. Two of my brothers dressed up as robots. Their costumes were made out of cardboard boxes and aluminum foil. They decided to keep the costumes for a while and use them as decoration in our common room. While cleaning up the common room, we find this random teddy bear. It was white with a little bow around it's neck. It had a cute brown nose and a random string coming out of its back. We had no idea who it belonged to so we just left it in the common room thinking that if someone really wanted it, they would come looking for it.

Weeks went by and no one claimed it. Eventually, Thanksgiving rolled around and still no one claimed it. One day, someone thought it would be funny to put the teddy bear in one of the robot costumes and face it towards the tv as though it was watching it. I stared at it for the longest time. It seemed to be looking back at me with a smile on its face. So I took it up to my room and kept it for myself. And I've had it with me ever since, except over winter break when I left in too much of a rush to grab him off my bed. I originally just called him Teddy but it didn't seem to fit. So I changed it to Franklin. But that made me think of the cartoon turtle. So I asked my brothers what I should call him. During finals week, I would sit in the common room with my blanket and my teddy and just watch tv. Our favorite show? You probably guessed it: The Maury Show. So they said I should call him Maury and Maury he's been ever since.

So, now, the real reason for this story. Why in the world would a 20-year-old that has never slept with a stuffed animal before all of a sudden feel the urge to do so? Why is a child's toy so important to me?

Well, honestly, for a while I had no idea. I didn't understand how an inanimate object could mean so much to a little child. But then I sat back one day and thought about it.

I've been going through a lot these past few months starting back probably at the beginning of the semester. As I've stated before, I don't like to think of myself as having one main identity followed by others that rank in importance. Every group that identify with is just as important to me, no one more so than the other. I love that about myself. But it's also caused me so many problems. Sometimes, it seems like one of my identities doesn't necessarily mesh well with one or more of the others. And so I'm left in this sort of identity tug of war. For example, let's take my multiple identities and see how they react with each other: gay, black, greek.

Now, just looking at those, if these didn't apply to me, I would say that they never work together. Well, they do or they can at least most of the time. But, these three identities don't always make life so easy. As Xan beautifully pointed out in her post from yesterday, black and gay don't always get along. For me, this clash often forces me to choose who to hang out with and how to act when around certain groups due to certain repercussions that are bound to happen. And I hate that! I hate that with a burning passion. I hate being fake. But I also hate evil glares and cold shoulders, especially from members of groups that I identify with.

Now, let's take a look at gay and greek. We all know this can have its issues with worrying about being accepted by your greek brothers or sisters. I can honestly say that I have never faced this and I know that I am so fortunate for that. But I'd also like to point out that sometimes, some members of the LGBTQ community don't always make it easy to be greek. I remember being told by a few members of the community that I need to stop pretending to be "fratty" and "embrace my gayness." I don't know if I've ever been more offended in my life. The sarcastic or condescending tone of voice some people use when asking me if I'm hanging out with my fraternity just makes the wound bleed even more.

Lastly, black and greek can actually work very well... if you're in a Black fraternity. Well, I'm not. So when talking to other members of the Black and I mention that I'm not in a historically Black fraternity, well, let's just say you can cut the tension with an imaginary butter knife. I become shunned from conversation and almost treated as a traitor.

So, I've been feeling like a partial exile from each of these groups and it makes me feel splintered. I haven't felt like a whole person in a very long time. Couple this with the stress of school, dealing with family issues, trying to salvage what little of a relationship I was having with this guy (and ultimately failing), I've been having some crappy months. I put on a brave face when I'm out walking around but on the inside, I'm falling apart at the seems. I just wanted something to grasp on to that would never leave me. Something that would always be there for me.

And that's how Maury came into my life and became so important to me. Maury is always there with open arms and a smile, ready to give me a big bear hug whenever I feel my world slipping away from me again. Maury is always there to catch my tears as I'm trying to fall asleep at night. Maury is there to be my company when no one else is around. I love my Maury.

1 comment:

  1. aj - i think this was a great post. it is something i wish i heard more about. as a queer white person, i would love to be called out if i do anything that comes off as not accepting and wanting to know the whole you! calling people out can be awk so that's probs a lot to ask...nevertheless i would like to think it is something i would respond positively to.