Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Bring It! July 30, 2010

As I struggle with one starvation diet after another trying to stay in step with the Castro’s seemingly endless supply of smooth and svelte circuit boys, I wonder if it isn’t time for me to go beyond being a mere Goldilocks and become a full-on bear.

Just like my drag mothers taught me everything I know about how to act like you’ve got the biggest balls in the room, I’ve learned important life lessons from my bear daddies. Internalizing hate and shame isn’t cute, and conforming for the sake of fitting in isn’t sexy.

The bears get a lot of things right when it comes to self-love. Endangered by the homonormative ideal that suggests survival of the fittest, they don’t just survive, they thrive.

I love that the bears have clawed out an accepting and comfortable niche in the gayborhood, adding a whole spectrum of wildlife to our beautiful rainbow. There’s muscle bears and dancing bears and Electronic Music Bears (oh my!), not to mention cubcakes. Subcategories like otters and wolves round out the party, and bear chasers are always welcomed.

Bear is a state of mind. It’s about owning and embracing the sense of self we carry on the inside at least as much as the self we present on the outside. It’s being comfortable in one’s own skin (or fur), and that’s a message our community can never hear enough, which is why bears are among my favorite San Framily mascots.

My bear boys never judge as I try to get by on Tic Tacs and glitter, and they protect me whenever I get grizzly. They cheer me on as I push my way into their bars, or into their territory on the Russian River, like I’m excited to do at Sundance next month.

Best of all, they graciously make room for me as I try to learn from them how to respect my own limitations. Keeping up with bears several times my size and weight has led to personal disaster on more than a few occasions, which keeps me mindful of just how strong and powerful these creatures really are, in addition to being so damned cute and cuddly.

Just something to bear in mind as we celebrate and appreciate those at the top of our gay food chain. Grr!

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