Tag Archives: accepting homosexuality

What Gay Men Say And Feel When The Thirst Is Real

Half-empty glass“Thirsty. Not for something that comes out from faucet, but gravity in equation. It adds and divides, multiplies and subtracts and always equaling desire. This desire yearns to be met with solution. A remedy. For fires to burn and bodies meld. All this for man. Man wishes to drink fully to stifle flames only contact makes solutions hotter and harder to come by. It is our function. Our dysfunction. Lust is the only bodily function I give credence right now. Smells and tastes from lips and tingles between thighs while the glass remains empty. It mocks as we mock ourselves. Mouth is dry and muscles ache, for physical connection. This remedy brief, but satisfying.”

 

Sounds so dramatic doesn’t it? Or romantic. Or both or not at all. The inner monologue can come up with some really embarrassing commentary on desire as evident from the above entry of my journal over seven years ago. Suffice it to say that as eloquent as I was trying to be in that passage it shows that we are not always coherent when under the influence of our desires.  As gay men, well really all men, we always have those moments when all we can think about is satisfying our thirst. And when we’re single it feels like that drive is magnified by just about everything because it seems to occupy so much of our thoughts.

Some may be asking what thirst is well honestly it’s a lot of things. But mostly, thirst is merely the expression of one’s desires for another. Sometimes romantic, almost always sexual, and hardly ever platonic, it is the nature of wanting to be close to someone. A feeling of wanting to show this person of interest every single time you have a chance how much you like them. Always greeting him with an enthusiastic smile. Laughing at all of his jokes. Then we may start to be a bit craftier in expressing our desire.

Showing support for every cause he stands for. Reciting every literary work you learned in high school thinking he may notice. Being irrationally vitriol towards another when he’s angry at someone. Telling him about music you oh so quietly noticed he was into. Instantly disliking anyone he flirts with but still making conversation with them to show that you’re cool and laid back. Being the first to answer any inquiry he asks on social media. Favoriting every tweet he writes and liking every Instagram picture. Waiting until a really good moment you two share before direct messaging him your number. Has to be at the right time or else you’ll seem too needy or reckless or eager. The whole thing becomes meticulous after a while.

Then if he positively responds to any of our previous attempts we escalate our efforts because our thirst has not been quenched. This positive reinforcement means we have to ramp up whatever initiative we have available to attract this man to us. In fact the attention that we received only made the thirst worse so now we want more. As a result we may find ourselves saying or doing things we swore we would never ever do. The thirst is not about being rational or logical; it’s about having our desires satiated. Even if that awkwardly showing off your own physical features of your body you think he may like. Eventually this may mean finding unique ways to bring up how talented you are in sexual exploits.

“Accidentally” posting a pic of you casually getting out of the shower that your bestie took while you were both wasted or the one where you were only taking a pic of your thighs to measure how much gym progress you’ve made when really it’s about showing off the goods. Eventually you become hell-bent on showing this guy that you are the total package that he may or may not have known he always wanted. You want to be noticed. It’s a balancing act because you are constantly micromanaging what you should and should not say or do. Keep in mind that this all happens fast as we keep displaying how we feel until our thirst is satiated and he is the only thing that can squelch that sensation. Or how agile and flexible you are. As men it is natural for us to notice what we see before anything else, in fact we are hard wired to do so.

Then there’s the waiting. Waiting to see if you’ve made some progress on your goal of obtaining this man, agonizing over those first few moments (or seconds) that you’re eagerly awaiting some kind of reply of all your efforts. The great moments when he shows enthusiasm for your latest attempt or slight depression when he either doesn’t show enough enthusiasm or doesn’t reply at all. Eventually we are so into making progress that we don’t notice how some are witnessing how much we are falling all over ourselves to win favor with this guy.

It’s all subtle and direct and blatant and covert. It is the modern way of showing a crush that you’re interested in him. Not at all to confuse this with obsession as that is about completely losing yourself. This is all about expression. Our focus is a little off and we come off as awkward. Meaning literally everything and everyone diverts our attention back to quenching the sexual thirst we have. But we still have our own lives; we still go to work and socialize with our friends. We still pay our bills and plan for our future regardless of relationship status. And eventually we let go if it doesn’t work out. Whether this desire was rooted in wanting a long term relationship where you build lives together or a one night stand you eventually move on.

And people will notice. Family, coworkers, and most certainly those friends that are a part of your inner circle. As a result some will choose to point it out. Or call you out on it, whether it’s appropriate or their place to do so is moot. We have a tendency to rib each other when we notice someone being a bit more exuberant with someone that they like for whatever reasons. That can come from the shame we feel about our own thirst and project that on to other men. Sometimes it’s just jealously because the two people lusting after each other at one point was someone you were once (or possibly still) have some interest or desire in. Or maybe you just feel uncomfortable about it because it’s not the heteronormative way of romantically socializing that were taught was appropriate by society or our parents. Or the worst which is there is no reason.

Sadly some choose to take advantage of the thirst. Some feel that it warrants them to ask for favors knowing full well that being the object of affection gives them power over another. Whether that involves something as simple as asking them to promote something they’re invested in or as out there as having them buy things for them off an Amazon Wish List they know that they are using the real feelings of another to forward their own objective and that’s an awful thing to do to another person.

With all this, you know what I’ve found to be the most helpful in moments like this? Owning it. Admit to yourself that you are a human being that has a sexual appetite just like everyone else, regardless of how willing they are to admit it. Taking ownership of your feelings always gives you power and control. Maybe not over this situation and definitely not over the guy you’re interested in but power over yourself. To accept the state of the situation no matter what. To know that while it is okay for you to feel this way it is never okay for someone to take advantage of that. And enough insight and confidence to be able to tell any hecklers to mind their own damn business.

But mostly, guys don’t beat yourself up for being human. Don’t feel like it’s something that you have to have to hide in shame from your buddies. You may well be an awkward, embarrassing mess since we are not always able to express how we feel in a more sophisticated way. But until then you will most likely say something that upon reflection is completely cringe worthy and all out embarrassing but again, you are human. So let your friends laugh, or judge, or mock because they don’t have the jewels to admit that under the same circumstances they have said and done much worse. And you know what else? That guy you have your eye on will probably show more interest when it comes from a real, honest place.

 

So drink up.

 

Brushes With Death To Taking First Breaths: My Final Tale Of Growing Up Gay

gay love

It’s 2:05 in the morning and I can’t sleep. It’s been a long day like any other Monday but I’ve been feeling off. Completely tense, short tempered and just all around moody. So I wanted to catch up on current events and decided to read some of the latest LGBT news to see if there was anything I missed. Then I came across the story of Bailey O’Neill, the 12 year old boy that died this weekend after being beaten into a coma by some schoolyard bullies and the story of Marco McMillian, the openly gay mayoral candidate beaten to death in Mississippi.

My heart sank for them and their families and it made all the feelings of this day feel even worse because of the emotional quicksand I felt I’d been in the entire day. And then I remembered that it’s the first Monday in March, and all these memories came flooding back on why this particular Monday is so important to me. In 2005 on the first Monday in March was the day I almost died  and the day I finally came completely out of the closet. So I decided to finally follow up with the first two in this series by adding the last part of the growing up gay stories with the one that was the most defining moment in my life.

This all took place it was my first year off campus and it was a rough emotional one for me. It wasn’t the course load or tensions with the professors. It was because I had been deeply affected by the events of last year on campus. I was full of brooding and angst because I wasn’t out yet and so many times I had come close. Even though the most important people in my life, my parents, knew that I was gay I still felt the entire time that I was not living authentically. And with as much as a Resident Adviser and a friend that I always advocated for others to live in this example, I felt like a hypocrite because I was not doing the same.

My friendships with some became strained and I was steadily distancing myself from everyone. Maybe I did that on some conscious level to prepare myself for any potential fallout from anyone, though I felt like many silently knew.  The year progressed and I became somewhat stabilized until Valentine’s Day, when I lost an old friend of mine. Her death devastated me and I was completely heartbroken and an emotional wreck because I felt that I should’ve been able to prevent it somehow. I went through the remainder of my last year on campus in a fog of disbelief instead of savoring the last few months until “real” adulthood.

I carried some of the numbness and pain of that year onto my first year off campus but with all of that my not formally being out was the biggest thing on my mind. It had all but consumed me to the point that I welcomed any distractions that did not pertain to my dilemma. I was angry and sad all the time because I keep stalling this all out. It didn’t help matters because I felt that things had not been resolved with the man I had been seeing off and on since my freshman year of college. He had moved away and I missed him terribly but we still were in touch. But that only seemed to make the pain of us not being together even greater, And when he came to visit I was speechless that he had already came out since his graduation.

He questioned me on why I hadn’t done so, and as the nature of our relationship I still wouldn’t confirm it. So all his questions were met with a longing stare as a few tears strewn down my face. Again I tried to reconcile why I couldn’t do it. Maybe it was because I felt I had to embrace my race because of the covert, institutionalized racism that exists in the south. I feared that being of both two minority groups (African American and gay) would result in me being bombarded with acts of hate and judgment. That no matter who much I tried to show how I was so many other things than my race and my sexuality, it wouldn’t be enough.

Instead of not giving a damn what everyone else thought I felt that I had to sacrifice and suppress one aspect of myself in order to be seen as a real person beyond stereotypes and labels. The dichotomy would be something I would treasure later for the unique perspective it gives me but back then I still felt it wasn’t enough. At least that was the excuse I was using. So I thought if I waited until I was in a more diverse place after school would be better. But I wasn’t lying about it anymore by pretending to be attracted to women and become a pro at playing the pronoun game. So I was taking my time and doing it my way, as usual. But I didn’t have much time left as my health started to decline. I’d only eat a portion of what I used to and I kept losing weight.

And then I got the flu or what I thought was the flu. I couldn’t keep anything down. I lay in bed for nearly two weeks thinking I had the same bug going around. But eventually it started to hurt, a lot. the pain was dull at first, then cramping, then sharp agonizing pain. So my roommate took me to the hospital and after a two hour wait they gave me some Milk of Magnesia and sent us on our way. I cried for most of the night because this was by far one of the most painful things I had ever felt. I think I somehow drifted off to sleep from the sheer exhaustion of this ordeal. It was early that morning that I woke up and the pain was prolific. I could barely breathe and my stomach was protruding so far it looked as if I were in my third trimester of pregnancy. I ran to roommate’s room and as soon as he saw my stomach he grabbed his keys not needing anymore explanation.

We arrived at the hospital and they went to examine me. My blood pressure was dropping so they rushed me to another examination room that had an x-ray so that they could see what was going on. I remember looking at the clock as it said 915. They took me back to the previous room and I kept hearing doctors being paged. They brought in more fluids and a bag of blood because apparently I was too low. More nurses rushed in and I noticed there was a group of doctors all talking to my doctor. Then he came in and told me I had to have surgery immediately. I asked why and he said my organs were shutting down and handed me a phone to call my parents. I asked why again and he said “just in case” and darted out to prep for surgery.

I couldn’t focus and was too afraid to dial the phone so my roommate did. He tried to explain but my mom insisted that she talk to me. I tried masking my voice so she wouldn’t think I was scared, but mothers always know better. She told me to stay strong and that she loved me and it took everything I had not to lose it. Seconds later they said it was time to go and the machines were making more noises but when the nurse said that I couldn’t hear anything else. it was 922. This was serious. As they were wheeling me down for this surgery I stared up at the fluorescent lights and thought about how much I loathed them. time slowed and all of these never-ending questions about being gay popped into my head.

Why was this haippening. Why didn’t I pay attention to all this. What if I don’t make it. What if I die right here. What if I never see him again to tell him I love him and always will. What about my mom. What if..this is punishment…if it is then why did God make me this way. Why didn’t I live my life the way I wanted to. What if people never knew the real me. Why didn’t I tell everyone who didn’t already know I was gay. Why did I wait so long..Why

Then the next thing I knew I was waking up. I looked around and wondered if the surgery had taken place and then I wondered if I was having some out of body experience and then I let myself wonder if I was dead. and I freaked out. I started pulling at the sheets and screaming out of being so scared and disoriented. The machines were violently screaming as loud as I was and the nurses appeared from nowhere with several needles and within seconds I was out; I woke up looking at florescent lights as I was being wheeled down the hall. I started thinking I was dreaming again and everything that just happened was some drug hallucination and I was crying again and calling out for my mom and we turned the corner and she was there with my dad and my roommate.

I have never cried so hard in my life seeing her blue green eyes look at me, telling me that it was okay and to calm down. All it did was make me cry harder.  They wheeled me to my room and hooked up more machines and gave me more drugs to calm me down because I was aching all over. The doctor came in to tell that my appendix had ruptured and because it become septic my organs began to fail but I didn’t care about what he was saying. The fact that I was alive and with the people that loved me most was all that mattered. I didn’t care how close I came to death because I was alive.

After some time had passed I grabbed my mom’s hands and told her that I was going to be open to everyone else about being gay and she was of course fine with it. I told myself that if I pulled through this I was going to completely be who I was. And if. When people asked I would tell them. I asked my roommate to give me my phone and while he and my parents went to go get coffee I checked my voicemail out of habit and found out about another friend that had killed himself because he was gay. we were the same age and both of us had to face the darkest parts of humanity. But he was gone.

For a moment I felt so guilty because moments ago I was so elated about being alive in that moment. I sat there and let a few tears fall before collecting myself and scrolled down to the man that I had been unable to confess the truth to several months ago. Since death had been trying to say something to me twice in one day I finally decided to listen. It gave me the courage to be open publicly about who I have always been. Gay. And I have never felt so free in my life. I called the man I had loved all of my adult life at 1137pm on that first Monday in March and told him that I had almost died that day, that I was gay, and that I loved him.

Even with how hard it is to write all this down and share my most personal story it’s even harder for me to think of people suffering and feeling that they don’t belong in this world because of who they are. That maybe if I share my story, all of my story, it will encourage others to do the same so that people that are gay will avoid the missteps that I took and never have to endure what I went through. That they read stories like this and it makes them think of the kids that have it even worse than I did. That it may speak to those that felt like they have no support and are relentlessly bullied. So maybe those that feel insecure about who they are don’t feel the need to torture other kids for something they hate about themselves that they shouldn’t hate.

So maybe give that one kid perspective that even when you literally have no reason to believe that it will get better that if you hold on, that it does get better. You see today could have also been a very sad day for my parents. Instead of them talking to me on the phone they could’ve been laying some anniversary flowers at a gravesite and that makes me think of all the parents like those of Bailey, Tyler Clementi, Matthew Sheppard, and so many others that do or will now have these sad heartbreaking anniversaries. I don’t want us to lose another human being this way.

I do not want another soul to feel fear that they cannot embrace and love who they are. And if sharing our lives can get one person that is going through this to think then they will have served their purpose. The only way we can change the world is when we are willing to look at our own lives and question what we could be doing differently. And I am grateful that I was able to have the opportunity to tell others to ask themselves to realize that we do not have forever to be who we are today. And how much strength and love is waiting for you when you are ready to embrace who you are.

First Loves To Push & Shoves; More Tales Of Growing Up Gay

 dark gay

In my last piece I focused on the beginning of our process. The time of innocence and discovery that allows us to see how we’re different. And now this tale is about the middle part of this journey. It’s darker because this is when the internal conflict of accepting who you are and what everyone else believes you are.  During this time of the process we are presented with pushes and shoves that drive us to acceptance. Some are subtle yet linger with us while others are overt direct conflict that consumes every aspect of our daily lives. The time in which we leave our adolescence and begin adulthood is marked with these shoves during our process. Even though this is not as lighthearted and carefree as the first tale, it is just as important. Maybe even more so.

So I had learned I was different in third grade. Even though this discovery is monumental, the way I came about it was so carefree and innocent. And I was not prepared for the dark twist and turns of development coming my way. As we get into adolescence and later adulthood, we start to feel those push to understand and accept being gay. The first shove was to understand why I was different. Why I thought about guys instead of girls. Why I felt the need to want I wondered for what seemed like years why I didn’t like girls the same way. I thought girls were great. Still do. They’re nice and have amazing hair that I always want to play with for hours on end.  But that shove to be like all the other guys was strong; I was never quite able to be as they were.

It lead me to take on more androgynous behaviors and to this day I am still not sure if it was intentional or because I enjoyed those activities. And this understanding leads me to my first dark period. Bad hair, bad clothes and a sullen guy that listened to R.E.M. on repeat every day. That was coupled with my brief consideration on whether or not this was truly what God wanted for me. I also knew it was about how I didn’t fit into everyone else’s mold of what a stocky 6’4 guy should be like. I quickly learned not to care what others thought about every other area of my life but I still refused to confirm what a select few had suspected. And the representations of what I thought gay was did not resemble me at all so I didn’t know how to be gay. Or maybe I was just stubborn.

Those awkward years ended and finally I was an adult. I felt like as soon as I arrived on my first day that I would feel this euphoria and be able to just come out, everyone would be cool and I wouldn’t care either way because I was happy. And even though that year was the best of my life I still felt hollow. Because I still hadn’t come out yet. The shove of a new life and new beginnings was not enough for me to come out and fully accept my sexuality. I knew and accepted it years before. And more importantly to me, my parents knew. At that time their opinion and support was all that mattered. I often wonder if it was fear of being judged on one more thing I could not change. Because of my race I had faced discrimination. And I did not want to have to always be aware of something everyone else would constantly judge me on. But until I had that final push came the first of much one summer night. Or maybe I was just scared.

And during that summer after my first year of college came another shove. I had the privilege of making friends to two men like me that felt they could trust me with their secret. I was the first person they told that they were gay. That secret that was also my secret, but I just wasn’t brave enough to do so. One friend was there on campus working during the summer months after my freshman year, also known as one of the best years of my life, with me. One night he pulled me aside and asked me to go out for a walk with him as he had something to tell me. And I obliged wondering what he had to say.

We walked across the street and sat on the surprisingly cool steps of our university’s conference building and stared up at the stars, our favorite pastime. But Mick (I nickname all my close guy friends that, I don’t know why) was so quiet that night. And I sensed something was wrong. He turned to me with a tear falling down his face and said, “I don’t want you to hate me, Sly.” And my heart sank for him because I couldn’t take away his pain. I assured him for several minutes that he didn’t have to be afraid of him and that I will support him no matter what. And he said. I’m gay. And I said okay what else is there? And he smiled. Letting out a huge sigh of relief he started to cry tears. I’ll never forget this expression of ease and freedom that was so visibly etched on his face. And then I began to cry.

My heart felt like it was in my throat because I so desperately wanted to say “So am I, Mick” but I didn’t. And he asked what was wrong, holding my hand and more tears strewn down to the ground. The push was one of the most intense feelings I’ve ever felt. So torn on when to come out. I kept thinking would I take away from his moment or would this be a double celebration. Finally I recovered saying I’ll always be there for you and support you no matter what. This doesn’t change anything between us. And even though I meant those words they felt like cruel malicious lies because I was unable to say that I’m gay too and you’re not alone. We talked and laughed and when I went back to my room I cried until I fell asleep. The push, or this internal desire was not strong enough to do it. Or maybe I still felt alone.

The next shove was the most subtle and the most powerful. It has the scale and drama of those relentless romantic comedies I avoid religiously.  Because one of my last shoves was love. I had met a guy the very first day of college and I was in awe. He was lanky but still so statuesque. A business major with charisma that could woo the most uptight person into having a good time. He was smooth and I was in love. And even though neither of us was out at the time we were drawn to each other as if we knew each other’s secrets. A common trait of mine is to hide my greatest treasures away from everyone else in order to preserve them. Or maybe I’m just a little selfish.

We flirted off and on for years and came so close to something happening. But knew the moment either of us gave into our desires, we would have to share that secret about us. We weren’t willing to do that yet. We’d lose touch with each other then randomly find each other. But we still were unable to commit to announcing that we were both gay. Then during the summer before I started grad school I saw him randomly again. Before we had a chance to say hello we kissed. Impulsive and right in public. We hugged and talked as he asked me about when I finally had come out and I said I hadn’t yet. This changed the tone and he wanted to give us a real chance at something but only after I was out. But I still wasn’t out yet. And we hung out more and I felt the shove to embrace my sexuality more than anything because I wanted to be with him. He went on his way later that week and we kept in touch. I wasn’t fully ready but I was closer than ever.

And then a few months later my last shoves came. They weren’t sweet with hints of love even though I thought about my sexuality more than anything. They were dark and cold. The last shoves were death itself. I had been so stressed with school and grades I thought my appendix erupting was a simple flu virus. When I finally arrived at the hospital they had me prepped for surgery within 15 minutes because I was bleeding internally and were uncertain I would even survive the procedure. They said I should make a quick phone call to my parents and I did. This acceptance of being gay had consumed my thoughts so much that I ignored my own health. And as they rushed me to the operating room, O remember the bright fluorescent lights above me and I vowed that if I made it I would live as openly and authentically as possible.

Then news came of a college friend that had committed suicide because he was gay. Reading and hearing about it as I was healing from major surgery, I remember crying because I wasn’t just sad. I was livid. Because I felt that maybe if I were out sooner that he wouldn’t have felt so alone. I know that it’s not my fault, or at least convinced myself that I had no control over his actions. But I will always wonder had he been around more people that were completely out would it have changed the outcome and that I believe is true in anyone’s life.

So I had shoves in all states of my being. From the emotional, what felt like physical when confronted with how someone else’s truth was also my own and the spiritual side. Sometimes all at the same time, all shoving me to either come out or be alone forever. And I was terrified of both. You see there’s this push and pull. This shoving and stalling the entire time until you are full out. There is time of frustration and anger throughout. I felt even with all I knew and awareness I felt I possessed I still couldn’t own it yet. Even with my parents’ support I still hesitated for years in completely embracing my sexuality. Because that conflict, that pushing and shoving doesn’t end until we allow that process of understanding that we are different in one aspect than everyone else. Self-acceptance comes on its own time when you are willing to accept it. It took years for many of us. But thankfully that is changing for the better.

Again, I tell these stories because I feel we all need to share them. Because even though the newer generation of gay men and women have it better than us it still does not make that process any easier. But the way we make it easier is a result of them reading our stories and life lessons and insights so that maybe they avoid some of the things it took us years to learn. And for them to know that their feelings and emotions through this process is normal. Because it is about their development. So maybe they find more tears of joy than sadness. To know that they are not alone.

 

The Who’s What’s Where’s When’s And Why’s Of Being Gay

gay question

There are many what’s when’s where’s who’s and why’s to being gay. Because there is a neverending parade of questions that we begin to ask ourselves. We make speculations but all that does is raise more questions. It is a time marked by fear and pain that we carry with us. But it is also a time of strength and empowerment. So many vacillating emotions go into this process because it is an ongoing process. Through progress and setbacks these moments define our lives. But these five types of questions are the stages we face when we are gay. When I write about these experiences and stories I have only one goal in mind and that is that the more we share the more we grow. That the more we discuss in detail our processes of accepting our sexual

Now this has been written about before but it’s not enough. Even though we have resources like PFLAG that gives an objective and well versed PowerPoint on this process it is still not enough. Because to me, it reads more as an instruction manual rather than really delving into the emotions of what it’s like to be gay. There are so many emotions and questions that seem to lack answers. And while they give a general overlook for the LGBT community, I am focusing specifically on the gay community. Makes me think that we also need to hear more about the other aspects of our community but I can only do it justice if I speak from my own experience.

5 Stages of Being Gay

Discovery/Questioning This is the beginning. The first moments when you realize that you’re not like everyone else. Like most of us this happens at an early age. We notice how we may interact differently than the other guys around us. We may not be into the same things or play the same way. We may not want to dress like our other male classmates or prefer the same music. We have our first evidence of our differences in random encounters and innocent kisses. We may like the same things that girls like. Or we may do the exact same things as our male counterparts but almost like a sixth sense we know we aren’t quite the same.

Then as we progress into adolescence, we develop but in body and in mind. The awkward stage of being between a child and an adult. By now most of us know what’s different. When we aren’t trying to get the cute cheerleader’s phone number or going out for the position of quarterback on our high school football team. When we may have higher voices than all the other guys. When we might walk and move differently too. In a time when we want to be just like anyone else we can’t help but feel  the most different and even more alone. Because by now we’ve recognized on some level why we’re different. When we know that we are gay.

Anger/Confusion And as a result of this discovery comes more questions and no answers. This goes on throughout all but the final stage of acceptance. This can last for years. Constant never-ending questions about why we’re different  We’re angry because we aren’t like everyone else because we just want to fit in. We are angry at everyone else for not being like us.  We seek out the answer from our elders. Needing to find clarity of why we think about having sex with guys. Why do we dream about it almost every night. Why do we always have all these feelings when we see a guy we find attractive.

Why do we think of his shape; his hairy arms, his thighs, his strong hands and legs, his furry chest and chiseled abs, his beautiful eyes. Why do we dream of his hands encapsulated in mine as we gaze at the stars. Why can’t we think of something else. Why can’t we think of girls like everyone else. Why can’t we be like everyone else. We can’t stay this way. Why does God hate us.  Why can’t we be this way. Why do we have to try to be like everyone else. Why does it feel like everything about us a lie. We do we have to pray this away. Why are we so stressed that we make ourselves sick. Why can’t we stop lashing out at the ones trying to help even though they don’t know what’s wrong. Why do we have to let go of everything we thought we’d be. Why can’t we stop crying. Why do we keep thinking about his eyes. Why are we so damn afraid.

Admittance That moment when not only do we know but still may not know why. We are going through what feels like an emotional rollercoaster and there are no signs of it ending. For whatever reasons, while we may not be willing to accept it but we can at least admit it to ourselves. It may take years before we full accept it, if ever. We will always be different no matter how hard we try or hide the truth from everyone else. We know that we will never be like everyone else. And the dreams that our parents had for us will never turn out the way they planned. And it is a time where we are relentlessly contemplating what our next step is and where that may lead.

Where do we go from here. Where do we get the strength to accept that we are gay. Where did gay come from. Where will I learn how to be gay. Where can I go to stop being so afraid. Where will we go if our parents kick us out of the house. Where do we go to fix this. Where do I go to learn how to hide this. Where is the explanation why we were made this way. Where was God when he made us.

Fear and Doubt More and more questions with still no clear answers. And like confusion/anger, we go through this during most of the other stages. Constantly afraid to even think about what being gay could mean for us and how it will impact the rest of our lives. Terrified that we are being judged for every single thing we do. Fear that we will never be able to be like everyone else. Always fearing we will never be happy. And we doubt that we will ever be able to come out. We begin to doubt our judgment in all other areas of our lives. We even begin to doubt the few answers that we are able to find.

What if everyone else finds out. What if everyone else hates us. What if people tease us. What if God hates us. What if we can’t be saved and we burn in hell. What if they were right and we are wrong. What if there is something wrong with us. What if my friends start hating me. What if I never find anyone that can love me for me. What if I’m alone forever. What if people try to beat me up or try to kill me. What if I just give up end it all. What if gay is wrong. What if our mothers stop loving us.

Acceptance Then to us what appears as some miracle, things begin to change. Maybe an event or person has entered our lives to show is that there is nothing wrong with being gay. Maybe it was just time we needed to accept the truth. But we reach a moment. A pure, crystalline moment that frees us from all other thought and reason to the contrary. Because we have finally began to accept us.

 We have finally accepted that we’re gay and admit. No longer do we think about being like everyone else because we like who we are. As we have accepted and embraced our sexuality we are finally able to do the same in the other areas of our lives. We realize that being gay is not the only thing we are. We don’t care about being different anyone. So many nights we wondered would we ever feel better. It got better. We can sit back and let our fantasies run wild because it is natural. It is okay. We will be okay. To hell with trying to convince everyone else okay because we are not living for them, we are living for us. We are free.

Who knew we were this strong. Who knew that we would realize that there is nothing wrong with us. Who knew that our friends and family love us unconditionally. Who knew that even though some may have turned their backs on us that we are still okay. Who knew that we could like being gay. Who knew that gay isn’t much different than being straight. Who knew that we can still have all the things our parents dreamed for us. Who knew that we would love ourselves again.

You see, all of these who what’s whens where’s and whys are about me and you. These stages aren’t all linear and we go through some longer than others. I searched my journals for days and these were the things I asked. Even though they are all the personal questions I asked, these are the questions that we all ask. Because even though monumental events like this are hard to forget they are always a series of questions and answers. Even though I had admitted to myself when I was still a child I had not yet accepted it until I almost died. And then learning about a friend who took his own life because he was gay was enough for me. If ever there was a time to believe in signs to change my life those were two of the most defining moments.

I thought about the mothers that have lost their sons and daughters too soon and how my silence was suffocating my own life. Their pain was too powerful for me not to reflect upon my life. I gained the courage to fight back all the fears and doubts and face that this was who I was always meant to be. I searched for all the questions I had about being gay but the most freeing thing I have ever felt in this life is when  I discovered the answers lay within me. It is an extremely empowering moment.

When we share our stories it helps others dictate how they want their story written. Our lives all different but our questions are the same. The more we share the better the make it for those that go through the same way. We show that it’s normal to feel this way and that it is okay to be who they are. Because we are tired of seeing people being so bullied and afraid that they feel like the only way out is to end their life and that has to stop. When we talk about our paths, our stories, our lives and how our questions are the same. it shows how the process of accepting things as they truly are frees us. I only hope that it leads to those still afraid to do the same and answers some of their questions.

Special thanks for the twitter friends Tony, Jim, Mark, Colin, Christopher, Roy, and Mike D that helped inspire this article, and to my journals for being there for me during a time when I feared no one else would be.