While I made my way around the Kaiser Medical Center today, I couldn’t help but find pause as I saw all of the older adults slowly making their way around. A conversation I had with my therapist on Friday came back up for me to critically examine yet again. I was sharing with Kevin, my therapist, how, for some reason, my upcoming 33rd birthday seems to be more of a preoccupation than prior birthdays.
I’ve never been big on birthdays. Yet, there’s something about where I am in this period of my life that just seems to be glaring at me in ways that they hadn’t before. Most of the people with whom I grew up have their own families now. And if having my own family is to be a real goal for me, then it won’t be for another six or seven years, once I’ve obtained my PhD and settled into a new career. Yet, I am very much aware of my male privilege, and how I don’t have the same kind of biological egg timer (no pun intended) that confront women of my age.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The deeper issue I raised with Kevin was how I feel like I am way past the age where I can claim to be “young.” And as a gay Asian-American male, whether or not there’s shame in what I am about to say, I’ve been able to find the semblance of power in a racist, male-dominated gay “community” by playing to the objectification of gay Asian men as “young and sensual,” even if I deplore such a practice. So how do I define my Power, my uniqueness, when it has been built on a facade? And what hope does an aging gay Asian man have in a White-centered social structure?
More importantly, how do I define myself in ways that honor my authentic Self? How do I celebrate Michael at this turn of another year of my existence?