Before I start I would like to say – Race-the-Ace – Thank you for writing such a brilliant story and sharing it with the fandom. (I love your other stories too!)
I can’t remember when I first came across ‘Becoming Connor Davids” by Race-the -Ace but it was one of those stories that just hit home. I started reading this story and fell in love, I literally spent a week of my life just reading this story, I subsisted on apple juice and oat cakes because I couldn’t tear myself away.
Connor is one of those rare OC’s who is well-written, well-rounded and alive. Connor has a life, back story and a driving force. I have talked to people who hate BCD because the OC is the main character but for me, it really didn’t matter.
I love this story so much because it speaks to me, in a lot of ways Connor is me. OK, I figured out I was queer when I was about 15 and single. But other than that Connor is a mirror of my reality. He falls in love with another man and that shakes him to the core, he has never dated and Catholicism is a major part of his life.
At one point John and Connor have this conversation. John asks Connor about his journey to reaching an equilibrium between faith and love and Conner answers him with “I still believe in God, if that’s what you’re asking.” After a bit more conversation he then says “No, it’s just… it’s just hard. I’ve never really landed anywhere with it. I’d…I’d like to think that I’m a good person, John. That God still loves me.” And my heart breaks, I literally mean that the first time I read this story I shut my eyes, cried for about five minutes and then closed the web page because I didn’t want to see John’s answer. I didn’t want to lose the hope I had had.
I once said that exact phrase to a gay friend of mine when trying to explain why I found dating and love so difficult, and my friend’s response? ” If God exists and hates gays then from the moment you were born God hated you because you are a bad person. And if God exists and doesn’t hate Gays then God hates you because you doubted him. If God doesn’t exist then you are a terrible person because you believed in God.” I was 18, depressed and effectively friendless. I had abandoned home and would do everything I could for three years to not go and visit family. I had lost the one community I had always thought I would have. This so-called friend effectively made sure that I felt I couldn’t make a space for myself in the gay community. I was very certain in that moment that I would never be happy again.
Connor had just made a statement that tore through my very soul and I couldn’t stand to find out that the man he loved hurt him as I had been hurt. I know exactly how venerable you make yourself when you try to explain your personal theology to someone else.
I managed to not continue reading this story for about ten minutes before my innate desire to finish what I start kicked in and I began reading again.
“I’d like to think that I’m a good person. That God still loves me.” Connor says and John replies in the only way he really can “I’m sure he does, Connor. How could he not?”. In that instant, I knew that this story would stay with me forever and I would read in over and over and over. But to me, it was unreal, and remains so, a lover who just accepts you for you? they don’t exist outside stories, right?
John doesn’t really understand Connor’s faith and that leads to some lovely moments of confusion and some great story telling but John supports and loves Connor though his break with faith and his journey to finding a balance. In fact, the one constant in this story is that John loves Connor regardless of everything else going on.
My father is Irish Catholic, his Grandmother moved to Scotland in the midst of The Troubles and married a good Scotsman and by all accounts took great care to learn a strong Glaswegian accent so that her Irishness couldn’t be identified. By the time I was born we had, as a family readopted our Irishness (in a sense) and strengthened that Catholicism. Catholicism ran through my childhood like the days of the week, it was a constant, there and unchanging.
There are moments in BCD that I have I laughed at the memories it calls up and boy have I cried at the moments where it reflects me.
Becoming Connor Davids encouraged my to look at how I was living my life it helped my to reassess my anger with faith, and my parents, it let me live vicariously through Connor. It let me see how much I would regret never being myself while my parents were alive, and while I wasn’t ready to deal with that at that precise moment it encouraged me to just… let go of a little fear.
I had already moved on and gone through a lot of the anguish and hurt Connor does in this story but I was young and didn’t deal with it well, or healthily. Connor is 33, living in another galaxy and has a support network and when I first read this story I wished I was him.
If I could give young, Gay , catholic, hurting people one book, essay or story to read it would be this one.
The fact it would introduce them to slash is just a bonus really!
Actually, scrap that I would like to send the whole world to read BCD or at least to the chapter called Fluctuations.
PS – I never did find a balance with faith. I too placed my crucifix in a box and put it away but for me, that was the end. I have never found a way back to faith but I am no longer angry with my parents for raising me as Catholic and causing me all this pain. I will spend the rest of my life questioning what my belief is, I was 15 when I started to undermine the bedrock I had built my life on and perhaps Connor has it easier being 33, his bedrock though shaken still stands at the end of this story. But regardless of everything else, there is still a part of me that truly wants to believe “I’m a good person. That God still loves me” for all that I don’t believe in god anymore.