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Coming out as an American teenager in the early 1990’s was a strange and frightening time. It was the height of the AIDS crisis and news was breaking about Jeffrey Dahmer coercing boys my own age home from the mall and dismembering them. My survival mechanism was to come out to friends and family on principle but to never act on my sexuality.
Alienated by organized religion, I made the mistake of forsaking any personal cultivation of spirit. Years of steady outward success (valedictorian, ivy league college, two advanced degrees, a professorship) masked the encroaching tyranny of intellect over my body and spirit.
In a world of uncertainty, the one thing I had absolute control over was my body. I drove it to extremes: anorexia, compulsive exercise, cutting, smoking, and finally, drinking. Feeling like my integrated, gay self was denied by family and culture, I created and managed a series of compartmentalized personas to express the various aspects of self that were being repressed. Brody the son and brother, Dr. Fox the professor, and Broderick Fox the artist were soon joined by Rick the club kid, and Dina Brown the drag queen.
These performances were exhilarating at first, but with no sense of spirit outside of self and the management of these multiple performances becoming more and more unwieldy, things began to come apart. Rick became a sex worker, all of us became alcoholics, I became a stranger to myself, and my body finally reached its breaking point in the Berlin subway on July 23, 2005.
Click on the images above to explore my personas and share your own thoughts and experiences.