Scottish
My cousin didn’t look like this, but the lack of a tartan and a pipe left me disappointed.

It was supposed to have been a quiet weekend of tinkering with my impossible game project, reading, doing the remaining homework, and just taking things easy until the inevitable arrival of Monday. Things didn’t go that way. First, my Scottish cousin arrived a week early, which meant that a hastily arranged dinner had to be attended in Brighton with my other cousin, and Mark had to drive even though he was bone tired after work.

But… the curious meeting with a person that apparently looks like an older muscled version of me, complete with the wild black hair, and a Stirling accent made it interesting. Mark noted that, and kept going on about it. I don’t think my cousin looks much like me though. He does however speak Scottish.

I can’t place the accent. To me it sounds like a softer Edinburgh-accent.

One interesting feature of my dear cousin from the North is that he, like me, is gay. He came out some moths ago, which made everyone roll their eyes and go “not again”. This means that of the five cousins that there are, me, my cousin in Brighton, and the Scottish cousin with his two brothers; three of the five are gay.

That says something about nature versus nurture, I suppose.

It just leaves me to wonder which of my grandparents had a secret that they took to their graves. It has to be the English side, though, since it affects all us English cousins. But it would have been interesting if my paternal aunt had children to see if any of them would have joined us in the Pink Brigade.

***

Justin Aaberg
Justin killed himself on July 9th, 2010. Today I was reminded of this.

This is Justin. Last name Aaberg. I want to read it as Åberg, as I suspect there’s a Scandinavian link somewhere in this Minnesotan’s past. Apparently, Minnesota is the heart-land of the Scandinavian immigrants to the USA.

Justin is dead. He died when he was 15. He went up to his room on July 9th 2010, took out a rope, and hanged himself. He would have been 17 this year. My age. And he’s dead.

His mother found him. His mother was utterly clueless about his life until she started to dig. Her belief that he was having “the perfect life” was so far from the truth.

By chance I came over an article in Rolling Stone about the suicides, and the school district. It made me stop and think about how the discussion have changed over time.

Justin was one of the first, although not one of the most renowned, of the spate of suicides that inspired things like “It gets better”. For a while there it seemed like there was a death every week.

You can utter a lot of “that’s so sad”, and so many “how awful” until the words start to feel like thin films of glass that hold a yawning gulf of nothing, and just a little pressure would make the glass film break.

The hoopla has died down now. It’s about persecution of Christians now. It’s about LGBT intolerance toward religion. It’s about how we are at fault. Their voices are so many, many more, and they are so very, very loud, and they are so very, very insistent. Even the suicides were because of the “gay agenda”.

Not because Justin there was tormented for every day of his life until he couldn’t take any more, a feeling that I do know since I’ve felt it. I was never suicidal, but I was just as trapped. And my parents were just as surprised as Justin’s mom was. I lied just as good as Justin about how things were in my school back then.

Sometimes I wonder if I would have thought the same had my bullying gone on longer. Would I have reached the same conclusion?

***

I’m so stuffed at the moment that I can’t move, so I’ve been lying here in the sofa trying to bring enough muscle to bear to lift my fingers and find something to listen to while I wait for Mark to get out of the shower so that we can watch something on the telly together.

He’s quite knackered, the poor dear, so he’ll probably doze off before too long. I’m not really tired, so once I get over my food-fatigue I’ll have to find something interesting to do. I slept to noon today, because Mark tiptoed out of the bedroom this morning and didn’t wake me this time. So, I’ll probably not be able to sleep until well after midnight.

UPDATE

I didn’t link to the Rolling Stone article I mentioned earlier, and I should have, so apologies for that. Here is the article.

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