Tag Archives: self love

When You’re Ready To Come Out, We’ll Hand You The Match

gay match

Today is National Coming Out Day which serves the purpose of showing support to those looking to finally come out of the closet and fully celebrate who they are. It’s a day where we remember the feeling of relief we experienced when we finally found the strength to stand up for ourselves no matter how difficult the journey became. It also provides you with an opportunity to see what happens after you come out and what you have to gain by accepting how you are. Because once you burn that metaphorical closet many changes take place in your world and within yourself.

But I want to speak more candidly on some of the things you may experience once you come out. So often when we discuss Coming Out Day we only focus on that moment we declare our sexuality to the world that we give so little attention to the things you may witness afterward. This will be an immense time of rediscovery because even though you retain so much of the person you will learn so much about who you are and how you interact with the world around you.

So the journey does not end of coming out of the closet. There will be much for you to discover about yourself when you announce to the world that you are LGBT. No matter how much you’ve observed of others like you it will not be the same. This is your experience and you will not always feel that things turn out as you had envisioned. At times it may feel completely overwhelming because you are constantly learning what the rules are for you more than any other time in your life. It will not always be easy and there are no guarantees that it’ll always turn out the way you planned. You may have family and friends that abandon you. Hate and disown you.

Some of them may actively work against your best interests and your rights as a citizen of our country. You may still be fired at your job for being LGBT. You may come up against discrimination and bullying you because those around you have not accepted that you have the right to not hide that you really are anymore. You may feel so overwhelmed by the transition taking place in all areas of your life. You may begin to question how normal your life can be as openly LGBT.

You may question the beliefs you had about this community that can sometimes appear too vain and uncaring. You may have experiences that are much to be desired with other members of this community when you discover that the same prejudices about race and ethnicity are still active forms of oppression with other members. Some will hold the same prejudices and hate about your looks and determine you’re too feminine or too masculine. They may even declare because of your preferred sexual role somehow depreciates your value because they are obsessed with status rather than substance. So you will come to realize that some of the misogyny and homophobia and racism still affects members of this community.

But the reward of being able to take a sigh of relief and no longer feel like you’re living a lie is worth it. You’ll come to find an even greater appreciation for the people who not only love and accept you but who also encourage you to explore who you are and how being LGBT is a part of who you are. You’ll find strength inside that you did not know existed giving you confidence to face other obstacles in your life more prepared. It will not always be as rose colored as you had hoped it would be but you will have opportunities to truly seek out the happiness in life you deserve. Make no mistake that even though there are members of this community that hold prejudices against you for trivial matters there are still people who will include you and welcome you no matter what.

Some will say that it is your responsibility after coming out that you should become an activist and you would do well to swiftly tell those people to kiss your ass and go straight to hell. You don’t owe that part of yourself to anyone and don’t ever let someone tell you otherwise. This is your journey. Your story. Your life. Would it be great if you added to the cause and actively contributed to help ending prejudices and discrimination against us? Yes it would be most welcome. Hate still exists towards us. You certainly should be aware of what’s going on in our world and how we are still denied rights and freedoms. But to me, living your life openly is being an activist because it shows despite the challenges we face we will not allow the archaic beliefs of our society stop us from finding our happiness in this world.

See the thing is when people come off with that ass backward logic are always the most hypocritical. They’ll laud about being a part of the solution while they themselves are part of the problem. It’s because they always feel entitled towards anyone that can serve their own initiatives which are always leaning more to their benefit than the welfare of all of us. They only focus on the G, with little mention of L, then laugh at the thought of B and completely forget T. This community can appear fragmented and hierarchical. The same rules of privilege apply to race and the complexities of being of more than one minority group that’s disparaged is too much of an effort for them to really care about.

But again do not be dismayed by the actions of those who seem superficial who only seemed to be focused on their own objectives. Seek out members that have your best interest at heart. Because the further you go the more you will discover that the stereotypes placed on this community are exaggerations of the truth. You will decide for yourself what defines you. And in m9ments when you feel lost and afraid of what comes next there are people out there willing to walk with you every step of the way. There are people out there who are willing to guide you while allowing you to make the best decisions for yourself without burdening you to their own agenda.

There is a support system here for you when you don’t feel strong enough to embrace who you are. There are people that will stay up all night with you and discuss how much your life has changed because we’ve all been where you are right now. There are people that will tirelessly work with you to find you shelter if your loved ones turn their back on you. There are people that will stand up for you if you’re discriminated against at work or bullied. People are here working to make sure you are safe. But only when you’re ready. So once you are ready to burn down that closet and walk into the world the same people who are ready and willing to hand you the match and walk with you along the way.

 

 

From Gaybies To Love Me Maybes; Tales Of Being Openly Gay

Okay I’m back here again. After I said that I had written the last tale of growing up gay I realized that the story didn’t end there for me. Nor does it end for the rest of us when we come out. Why? Because we continue to grow and change. Evolve. Most notably this all happens within the first couple of years. You discover so much about what being gay means to you. All the existential introspective listening to music while pondering your life occurs in this time period.

So I wanted to again write about the experiences I’ve had and to the best of my ability generalize it as I feel many gay men may have at some point experienced these stages. Because we reconcile those experiences and learn from our past when we talk about them. This isn’t so much a tale as it is just an exercise in random, yet meaningful, assortments of different stages/aspects we go through.

Gaybies

This is the term given to gay men the first year that they are officially out of the closet. It’s generalized that way because in a sense you’ve been born again. The world is new, and this is the time when you can actually celebrate who you are openly.  Everything in the world seems so big. More real. You could definitely compare it to the first time Mary Tyler Moore walked the streets of New York City. You feel so revitalized and aware of pleasures, both simplistic and deep.

There are so many firsts that occur when you step out into the world as a gay man. No more trying to hide the fact that you love men and want to have sex with them. You openly talk about sex. Some of us during this stage just want sex. Lots and lots of sex. One of the many advantages of being a member of this community is that you’ll find out is that sex isn’t hard to find.  And I certainly will not begrudge anyone that partakes in this behavior (safely).

It’s all exciting and you want to soak up every catch phrase and whatever the in thing to do is at that time. Go to every gay bar that you can get into. The rush of excitement every time you write down the words “I’m gay”. You take a deep breath every time you say it to someone who doesn’t know the truth yet and are either greeted with a displeasing reaction so you can give a quick rebuttal that you’ve rehearsed a thousand times mentally. Or take a huge sigh of relief when they are welcoming and loving.

But this stage isn’t all fun. Just with everything else in life this time period teaches you that there is a darker side to just about every community. More notably, this is when you find out about rejection. Scathing, brutally honest rejection. I’m not talking about when a crush says no thank you after you have finally worked up the courage to ask them out. It’s when you walk up to a prospective guy to show interest in you will flat out tell you whether they like you or not.

They will unabashedly tell you everything that’s right or wrong with you. Wrong hair, terrible shoes, lame accessories, ill-fitting clothes, dieting tips and workout routines they think would help you look better. That’s just in the first minute of talking to him. We also quickly learn about the social hierarchy of sex and how many will immediately size you up within 3 seconds and label you a top, bottom, verse, dom top. power bottom, vers top, vers bottom or anything in between. You will also be categorized based on size and body hair as if you are a new produce that needs to be bagged tagged and shelved until ready for use,

It could range from gym rat, otter, bear, leather daddy, twink, cub, “straight acting” gaypster (gay hipster) gaymer (gay gamer) bromo (gay dude bro) manther (gay cougar), a bunch of other lame inane adjectives or the ever so dreaded “average”. In my first year of being out, I’d say the labels is what I struggled with most because I outright abhor them. As many gay people of color will tell you, we’ve already had enough with being categorized just by your natural appearance.  I’m in no way knocking it if you feel like they embody your personality. But my free loving nature resists any attempts to categorization or labels. .

Anger/Rejection of Perceived Gay Norms

After your gayby year, you feel like you’ve got the hang of it. Because this is most likely the most self-indulgent superficial year of your life. At least it was for me. I took full advantage of all the gay world had to offer and more. But I came down hard to reality after that year. Because we learn about how we are truly affected by society and what is really going on with us. Our problems as a community. This can result in a lot of anger.

The reality of the world may lead to this stage of anger because as both an outsider and eventually an insider you see vanity and self-absorbed tendencies to the max. After that much self-indulgence you become frustrated because that has been your world for such a long time. Failing to realize the true complexity the gay community could appear to have a total disregard for feelings or a total lack of acceptance to any differences. There’s more than likely frustration that accompanies this because you felt that it was different. Then you learn that it is all about the places you go and the people you associate.

This time is also marked by, depending on your perspective, harsh realization that people don’t always equate sex with love. Or maybe you’re angry because you are just fed up with the archaic labels and shallow pace the gay community seems to be set in. You may see the majority of gay men as superficial egotistical airbags.

This is the time where you may become outspoken and angry at society. Angered how religion and God’s Word is twisted to fit man’s image when it’s fueled by greed and power. You begin to reciprocate the anger that is directed at you because you remember all the times you were afraid of being who you were before coming out.  You are angry because you feel like you always have to be on guard to protect yourself from those incensed with hate and bigotry.

Introspection of Gay Lifestyles

This is when we look inside for answers because we want to make sense of this community. All the things that you have learned and all the feelings of anger and frustration build to a point where you quietly back away from all things gay. It’s not so much that you don’t want to be gay it’s your way of searching for answers. You ask yourself how you can find contentment in so much chaos. You speculate and theorize about how you can coexist with this pace. Then you begin to question your outlook.

This is the time that you learn the true nature of your sexuality. You learn the mechanics of having sex with another man. And now that you’re listening and asking real questions about life, you learn and hear the real personal impact of HIV/AIDS from the people you meet. You realize they are not the virus, that they are people.

This is also when you question everything that you had to push back out of your mind because being gay was the only thing that mattered. But now you’re learning that it’s only one aspect of who you are. You question the very notion of faith and what you believe to be truth or creature comforts.

You’ve learned about activism and how to get involved in fundraisers for hospice care and youth centers. You donate to the cause and let your actions speak for you rather than heated emotions taking over. You reconcile so much of the anger you had both with yourself and with society. Sometimes, after years of being in this community, the sad, detached, distrustful, and overall apprehensive feelings of expecting anyone of real value coming into your life has merely been the result of your outlook.

Gay Acceptance

All this time you’ve spent thinking, wondering who you are and what gay means, you come to a serene, clear moment that places all of these emotions that you’ve had about the gay community and about yourself. Again you learn to not look at any person or situation by the few superficial aspects that commonly define them.

This is when you’ve finally and completely accepted yourself and your sexuality. No longer do you feel like you have to declare how masculine you are to prove your worth as a man  No longer are you concerned with how gay you look because you know that you can only live your life. Instead of being angry and having resentment towards those that do have it all together or all the advantages of society. this is the time where you just take action accordingly.

Getting involved to help when and where you can. By this time in your life you realize that maybe you shouldn’t look at movies or base finding love off of sitcoms. That true genuine people are around that will share your interests and concerned for your well-being. At this point when you write the words “I’m gay” you see it as just a part of who you are, like hair color or height. This is the time marked by when you’re looking for someone to spend your life with, you aren’t too concerned with him being a top or bottom as chemistry will work that all out, You’ll care more about if he’s genuine, engaging, and considerate to who you are and building your lives together.

These are when you have friends in your life that instead of picking you a part because of their own neuroses will always pick you up when you fall. You are finally able to see a plethora of loving, caring men that truly want to help you gain your identity that’s separate from all the inane sometimes uninspired labels. All visible from the beginning that maybe you overlooked. You will learn that you’ve learned that you are not just a letter to the acronym of LGBT and neither are the rest of the men of this community. You recognize that gay is not the subgroup in this community. This the moment that you truly are a complete, actualized being.

Again this is a very rough assortment of some of what we experience. Some of us go through all these aspects and stages one at a time, all at the same time or none at all. This was basically to show that we are in fact always growing no matter what stage.

 

Brokenhearts Clubs and Vulnerabilities Show, These Are Our Valentine’s Day Woes

vday

We are officially in the season of love. A time we know will soon be perfumed with flowers that bloom and sweeten the air. The days become longer now and the sun greets us after a long hard day’s work. Our urges to hibernate from the cold ebb away and our mood is lighter with each passing day. We are more likely to seek out new people and places to go and endlessly imagine all we want to do when summer arrives. By nature, we as gay men are more expressive in how we show love and just become so much more livelier during this time of year. We begin to listen to more songs that speak to the beginning of love to welcome new possibilities…but this time is not all rosy.

Even though we love all aspects of love this is also the time of year when we measure our entire worth based on whether or not we have a relationship. The subject of love is always looming to the point that it feels like it’s taunting us because we are examining what love or lack there of, we have in our own lives. And we begin to dread the international day of love. A day that is penned as the day of expressing our love turns into a diatribe about shattered hearts from inflated egos of our exes. We being to relive betrayal from infidelities and show apathy towards love that did not last. We lament on missed opportunities that we fear may never grace us again, Love consumes us in every aspect of our lives around Valentine’s Day.

If we’re single, we incessantly examine if it is the men we’ve been pursuing in the past calendar year. So we begin this at first objective list of what we are looking for in our potential soulmate, with trepidation and fear. It starts off innocently enough. First we may wonder are we looking for the wrong attributes in a man, how that can be tough.  We ask if our standards too hard to obtain. Should we settle for the guy that completely lacks ambition but looks great naked, or should we abstain?  Is the city I live in just lacking in worthy men or can we never win at love again? And then we turn this one day into the biggest self-deprecating examination into our looks and personality.

Are we too fat? Too skinny? Too tall? Too short even in top hats? Too much or not enough muscle? Too little ambition with not enough hustle?  We will go on dissecting every single inch of our bodies with great care, to find a flaw that is not there.  Then we examine our faces as aging in the gay community is hardly granted any graces. We’ll ask if our eyes are too close/far apart, and if our noses are too big/small by just an ounce.

Are our brows too pronounced or are our ears too big by just an ounce. Do we allow our scruff to sprout or just all hair out. Should our clothes mismatch or is there another reason we can’t find the ultimate catch. We’ll pull at our lips to see if they’re gigantic or in desperate need of snips.  Is it our voice or a bad accessories choice, our walk our smile too wild, our laughs, our dancing has too much prancing… It all begins to sound like a bad rhyme in our heads.

We’ll ask ourselves if we’re too needy or too detached. We’ll begin to wonder if we’re not affectionate enough or if we flirt too much with other guys. Are we too political or not worldly enough. Maybe we’re just boring/bland or too adventurous and spontaneous. Ponder extensively if we don’t communicate enough or know when to leave well enough alone. Could it be we’re too dry or never takes anything seriously. Are we too trusting or should we have trusted our instincts. Maybe we’re too cocky or too insecure. Constantly questioning how our past is affecting our present.

No matter how much friends and loved ones convince us otherwise. Their words are hallow to us now and facetious to boot. We feel patronized because we want to see what the guys we pursue don’t like about us. We’ll listen to sad songs, write sad, dark poetry and darker clothes. We get angry at even the slightest mention of love, the one thing we crave with our entire being. All we crave is to feel anything other than this constant drive to fill this void placed in our hearts.

Single people aren’t the only ones that do this. If we’re in a relationship we are constantly evaluating if that relationship measures up to not only our standards but the standards of everyone else. Wondering how to spice things up and try new things. Speculating at how truthful those relationships that make everything seem easy when you have to put so much work into your own. Wondering why the passion has left your relationship. Maybe even if only for a minute wondering if the love has ended and you both settled for comfort.  Also, you’re wondering if he feels the same way. So the day of love becomes a critique of both yours and his performance up until this point.

I have been through all of these stages just like everyone else, especially when I first came out. So often we critique ourselves to our communities standards whether we blindly follow them or not. It resulted in bad hair experiments and excruciating muscle building regimes. Attempted a really bad clothing makeover. Stared at myself in the mirror off and on for hours readying myself for discovering something heinous that was preventing me from finding “the one”. Made a list and called my exes to see what I could’ve done differently. Secretly studying other happy couples seething at how effortlessly they made their relationship seem and comparing how my interactions with past loves measured up. Hey, I’m human just like everyone else.

I was examining what I’ve done right or did wrong in all aspects of my life for the pursuit of love. Wondering what other measures I could take to make myself more desirable both inside and out. Inspecting my body and my behavior to see what I thought others would see, through their eyes. I did this regardless of whether or not I was in a relationship or not. Constant speculation of failed relationships and lack of consistency when I had a boyfriend. All these negative thoughts about myself going round and round like a bad rhyme.

Then I remembered what love really was. How the beginning wraps you up in euphoria. How when he mentions your name you get week in the knees. How hearing his name can make your day infinitely better. The little things like small notes or buying your favorite brand of cereal to show you he cares. How kisses are electric and holding hands makes you feel immortal. How love gives you the strength you never thought you had. How you are more focused than ever on your dreams and making them come true for the both of you.

Or when after a long very difficult end to a relationship you are able to look at yourself in the mirror and smile. That even though you want love, your life is what you worked hard to make of it. That loved ones are there for you to make you laugh and smile. And even when you are not alone you are not lonely. All those moments came from confidence  They come not just from the fact that someone loves you, but also the belief that you are in fact worthy of love. And that you love yourself.

Both of those moments of strength came from self love. And as the depth of how I loved myself  grew so did the love I gave and received from others. The point of this is first to not let this day be a measurement of how successful you are in the arena of love. Too often, in the season of love, we forget to love ourselves because we are too busy evaluating what love is given to us. What constantly ask what kind of love we want in relationships, whether we’re looking for one or attempting to reinvent the one we’re currently in. Being single is not a weakness and being unhappy about some aspects of your relationships is not the end of love. And we should also remember to give the same kind of love we are seeking to ourselves.