It Hurts

A long time ago when I lived in Rochester, New York, I stupidly wrote a letter to a coworker and mailed it to his home. It was not really a love letter, but it might as well have been. Writing is the best way for me to explore my thoughts and emotions, but it was inappropriate to send the letter: his girlfriend saw the envelope first and opened it. The horrible aftermath eventually drove me out of Rochester and back to my hometown of Portland, Oregon where I tried to work through my shame and anger.

There is only a thin analogy between my story and the story Shane Bitney Crone shares in the devastating documentary Bridegroom about a letter he gave to his unrequited love in high school, but it is early moments of resonance like this that helps, in my opinion, make the movie so powerful, and nearly unbearable. I remember acutely how awful my experience was, but what Shane ends up going through after his letter is so much worse, and Bridegroom still has far worse tragedies to relate before it comes to an end. I came away from the documentary feeling shattered and helpless.

I’ve turned to this writing to help me work through my emotions, but I find myself reluctant to do so. What can I possibly add to the discourse? Am I going to give a movie review? Am I going to continue relating the movie to stories from my own life? Am I going to spend my time writing about how awful it is LGBT don’t have equal rights? Am I going to take this opportunity to lash out at bigots and religion? Am I going to defend my strongly held belief that parents, when their children are grown, must earn their children’s respect, just like any other adult, and when they don’t, a valid response is to minimize contact with parents or cut them out entirely? Maybe I should just sit here quietly in my lesser pain, in respect to all who have gone through what Shane has gone through.

So here instead is the trailer:

And here is the video Shane put up on YouTube a year after Tom died, as he struggled to come to terms with his tragic loss:

And here is today’s vlog by a couple I watch on YouTube who have become friends with Shane, where he in these moments of humor and friendship comes across as wonderful and healing and poignant:

But sharing doesn’t feel like nearly enough. I would like to beg you to watch, but I’m not going to. Instead, I’m going to leave this here, I’m going to think, I’m going to cry some more, and I’m going to seek through my writing the means to not just help myself but to save us all.

Published by

Richard Leis

Richard Leis is a writer and poet. His first published poem, "Roadside Freak Show," arrives on August 21, 2017 in Impossible Archetype.  His essays about fairy tales and technology have been published on Tiny Donkey. Richard is also the Downlink Lead for the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) team at the University of Arizona. He monitors images of the Martian surface taken by the HiRISE camera located on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in orbit around Mars and helps ensure they process successfully and are validated for quick release to the science community and public. Once upon a time, Richard wrote and edited the science and technology news and commentary website Frontier Channel, hosted the RADIO Frontier Channel podcast, and organized transhumanist clubs. Follow Richard on his website (richardleis.com), on Goodreads (richardleis), Twitter (@richardleisjr), and Facebook (richardleisjr).