Monday, April 7, 2008

Strangers Like Me

Last night, I decided to watch Disney's Tarzan for the millionth time... okay, so maybe I haven't quite watched it one million times, but it's getting up there! Tarzan could quite possibly be my favorite [non Pixar] Disney movie so far.

It came out in 1999, the summer right before my senior year in high school. Although I wouldn't truly understand why until years later, something about this movie immediately spoke to me in an eerily familiar way. I bonded with it forthwith.

As the years passed and as I watched and rewatched Tarzan over and over, drinking in all the beautiful colours and the I-can't-quite-put-my-finger-on-it kinship I felt with Tarzan, I slowly began to understand:

I am Tarzan! Rather, Tarzan is I in allegory. Although I wasn't "adopted," I was nevertheless very different from my parents and siblings. That is, I had a great semblance to them, I had similar physical features... but something within me was different. I didn't quite "walk" like these other "apes" ; I didn't quite "sound" like these other "apes" ; I couldn't "climb trees" like these other "apes" ; I wasn't quite as "hairy" as these other "apes" ; etc.

But I thought nothing of it. I just figured I was simply an "odd ape." I continued on in my life, doing my very best to fit in -- and, in the process, even standing out in some really good and exemplary ways.

Then came the "Strangers Like Me" -- this was always my favorite song from Tarzan, and I found out exactly why as I experienced the pings of love for the very first time. It came ever so unexpectedly. I mean, I always thought I would fall in love with an "ape" -- that's what I was, after all... an "ape" ... but when I saw "Jane"... well, I think this snapshot does a decent job saying it:

Perhaps this is the "indoctrination" for which gays are so infamous -- falling in love haphazardly (neither of us were 'out,' and our love has also remained unspoken to each other). After all, I would have never known I fall in love with men if I had never fallen in love with one before. I would have gone my entire life believing my "love" for the "apes" was what love is all about. I would have gone my entire life believing I was an "ape" when I am really a "human." (If you aren't following my pattern, I'm putting quotes ("") around metaphorical words whose meanings I will [mostly] leave to the astute mind to translate.)

But, indeed, I saw "Jane," and when I did, a world opened up that I just could not turn my back on -- no matter how much I tried; no matter how much I wanted to; no matter how much I wanted to please my "ape" family -- as every time I tried, the "lyrics" would echo back to me:

Every gesture, every move that she makes
Makes me feel like never before
Why do I have
This growing need to be beside her?

Oh, these emotions I never knew
Of some other world far beyond this place
Beyond the trees, above the clouds
I see before me a new horizon


There's a world I need to know

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