I’m Coming Out!

Excerpt:
Yep, I’m into dudes. I’ve been alone and so lonely all these years and now I’m 36… Never been in love, never was able to be my whole or true self around my parents who have now passed away, and have never known intimacy with another person.

Eleven Months Later… Still Gay!

As I approach the one year anniversary of my coming out, I’ve been thinking a lot about how much has changed in me, around me, and about me that I knew I had to blog.

May 22, 2016 I posted a photo on Instagram with a hashtag that outed me… I consider this public post my official coming out day even though I had already spoken to my family a few days earlier. This was public. This was a NO GOING BACK post.

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It was late at night that I posted this because at the time I was recovering from a terrible major depressive episode after losing my parents and I was having trouble sleeping at night. I could only sleep during the day. The 22nd is my grandniece Elena’s birthday and there was a little dinner and cake for her at my brother’s house. That’s when I posted the photo on the right on Instagram and I can see such a difference in my face from a couple of days earlier to the day I came out… it’s a noticeable difference in my countenance. A weight had been lifted, a sadness was now gone, a burden that had been stifling me for all my life up until that point was released and I could finally exhale and begin to breathe, finally relax, loosen up, and be myself. I could finally begin to enjoy this gift called LIFE! See the difference for yourself.

So where am I almost a year later? Almost a year after finally exhaling and letting out the biggest sigh in history… ?

I’m happy. I’m happier than I’ve ever been.

Since coming out I now have a purpose. I know that may be hard to believe but when you’re living a lie and living for everyone else but yourself in a way that feels unnatural and a way that you know will never make you feel whole, there’s never going to be any fulfillment… so eventually life loses it’s purpose. I now have purpose again. I have something to look forward to. LOVE. I can now dream of romance, the kind of romance that completes me, that stirs up dreams of grander in me, that evokes wonder in me, that brings out the puppy love in me… and I can finally stop trying to be something and someone I’m not. I can’t even tell you the anxiety I lived under for the 21 years that I prayed to God to change me and make me straight, make me like my brothers, like my bible school friends… wanting nothing more than to wake up and be “normal.” The anxiety of praying for something and fearing that one day I actually WOULD meet a girl and fall in love but then fall into “sin” with a guy and hurt her and destroy my family and hurt my children and become a pariah in my church and community, shaming my family, my parents… The anxiety of praying for God to change me but knowing the whole time this “thing” as I referred to it was NEVER going away. The anxiety was maddening.

On a lighter note…

Damnit, I’m not the most macho or masculine guy, I’m not extremely feminine either… I’m sort of in the middle. I like being a man. I love mens clothes, cologne, short hair, how I can get away with a t-shirt and jeans and not brushing my hair… I love everything about being a guy and I love everything about men. I just don’t like sports all that much. I mean, mens gymnastics, olympic swimming, rugby… they have their draws… haha! But I also can really enjoy Project Runway or America’s Next Top Model… which are the gayest shows I watch, I’ll admit. And you know what? I can finally watch them openly and without shame or fear that if anyone knew I was watching them they’d think I was gay! Whew! Glad that burden is off my shoulders. Guess what? I’m gay. I like fashion and design and creativity and photography.

How have I changed physically? 

I’ve lost 90 pounds since coming out, food is no longer my crutch, I no longer stuff my face to numb my feelings, and I can now say NO to sugar, soda, junk food, and food in general. HALLELUJAH! It is truly a miracle. Yes, I have lost almost 100 pounds and I feel awesome. I am now wearing size 40 waist in pants and can fit into a 2 xl shirt down from a 5 xl shirt and 48 waist in pants. I can hardly believe it myself.

Since coming out I have found a true backbone and I can truly say that I am no longer living a life that is dependent on what others think of me. I don’t make decisions for MY life based on what others say or think. I don’t live my life in panic, terror, fear, & worry that every little thing I say or do will make someone angry or that they’ll leave me… if they leave me, so what? I have found that I need to take care of MYSELF because in the end it’s me and my life that I really need to be concerned with since we’re only given one short little life to live and I want to make the most of mine. I don’t want to spend my days depressed, repressed, sad, lonely, angry, and miserable… and for what? To please everyone else around me and to appease their idea what they feel is right?

I can’t do it. I won’t do it.

I have shed that cocoon of fear, thrown off that cloak of shame, and busted down that closet door that suffocated me for 36 years and I am NEVER, EVER going back in it.

THIS IS WHO I AM!

I have come out and I have stood on my own two feet. There have been a small, small handful of people that have stood with me through this. Some family and a few friends. And for them I’m eternally grateful because with their support I’ve done it and I’m not turning back.

marry me from elvisdifazio on Vimeo.

Since coming out I have begun picking up the pieces of a broken life and started to piece together the life I’ve always wanted:

  1. I started working at a great new job which I love.
  2. I made new friends which accepted me for me.
  3. I got my own apartment, on my own, finally.
  4. I asked out a guy at work and even pursued him a little. (BIG STEP FOR ME!)
  5. I’ve gotten more and more comfortable in my own skin.
  6. I’m started school June first and going for a degree in communications in business.

I even threw away some of my fat clothes and donated the rest. I was hanging on to fat clothes like shorts and t-shirts because they were big and comfortable but when I’d see myself in the mirror I’d still feel like the guy that was 357 pounds until one day I realized that all of the new t-shirts I bought fit me and are comfortable too. I began throwing out the fat clothes as a symbolic gesture of shedding the old me and throwing away all the garbage that had piled up inside my heart and mind.

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I can finally buy normal sizes off the rack! WOO HOO! 

Have family relationships been strained since coming out? Yes.

Have I lost friends? I think so.

Have I heard things like:

“Why did he have to do this now?” and  “Why does he talk about being gay so much? I don’t talk about being straight all day.” and “He’s not really gay, he’s just deceived by the devil, we need to pray for him.”

Yes. But that’s okay. The real truth is this, no matter what, there will be people that don’t agree with me being me and for whatever reason they are uncomfortable with me being gay. Whether it’s their generation that was taught gays are disgusting and perverse or it’s religion that has taught them being gay is an abomination, there will be people that will look at me and say they love me but they will never accept me being gay or ever be happy for me. And that’s okay. It’s my life and happiness that matters to me. And that’s what I’m focusing on.

All right, you’re gay, is that all you talk about? Yes, it is… for now! 

So here’s where it gets kind of funny but where I think I’ve lost some friends and family… you see, so many of us gays, and by many I mean 5 to 8 percent of the world’s population… so not that many, are so repressed in our teen years when everyone else is stretching, doing crazy things, experimenting, finding their way, being silly, reckless, wild, putting up posters of models, and talking about sex… etc… We don’t have that. We either lie our way through it and make everything up or we just stay silent and pretend to be super modest. It’s like holding your breath under water, but for years, and years…. and YEARS! And then finally, one day, you make it to the surface, you break through, you exhale and then breathe in a long deep breath and finally all the tension and anguish and pain is gone! You can finally breath, you are not under the weight of the water or in the darkness of that murky sea, you are FREE, you can breathe and see the colors of the world, the sun shining, the beauty all around you! Except, you’re an adult… but, you’re going through the phase of a teenager so in a way, you’re having the teenage experience your peers had but you’re in your 20s or even 30s and you’re surrounded by a bunch of other guys ALL experiencing the same thing. So, guess what? Things can get a little crazy, wild, emotional. (See video above for a good depiction of this.) Think kid in a candy store. Think teenager finally released from being grounded. For me, the worst is that I post #ManCrushMonday photos on Instagram of my favorite beautifully stunning blonde and blue-eyed model Aaron Kuttler of Aronik Swimwear.

Forgive me for being a bit of a teenager and having a school boy crush on this beautiful model. And forgive me for posting man crush mondays and for talking about boys. Forgive me for finally being comfortable enough with myself that I can be myself. If I made you uncomfortable, I’m sorry. My mind and body are 37 but part of me is still a teenager just starting to go through puberty and feeling all those wonderful and exciting feelings for the first time. So, yeah, I’m a touch boy crazy, sue me. If you don’t like it, I guess, unfriend me on Facebook, unfollow me on Instagram, or just stop talking to me in general. I don’t know what to tell you. LOL

Here I am, almost one year later, I survived, I conquered.

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I can finally smile!

I’m smiling. I’m happy. 

-Joey

Finally Comfortable in the Skin I’m In.

I know it’s been a while and I know I initially had a goal to write something every day but so much has happened in my life since coming…

I think I need to do a life update & share how much I’ve grown and changed since accepting myself and how different life is now that I am living as a gay man. I’ll admit, it’s still a bit jarring to hear myself say those words but I’m getting used to it. You know, it hasn’t even been a year since my journey toward coming out and standing on my own two feet began. It’ll be a year this coming April.

So, where do I begin?

Well, sadly, I don’t really have a relationship with any of my brothers right now. It’s not that we’re NOT talking but things are different, especially with the three of the four that are conservative Christians. They simply do NOT believe I can be gay and be a Christian at the same time. But, instead of this making me shudder in fear of losing them I simply stood my ground and explained that this is me and I believe God has created me to be this way and either they accept me or they don’t but I will NOT live in fear, shame, or guilt ANYMORE.

I have learned to stand on my own two feet when it comes to family.

The other thing that’s changed is that’s I’ve lost weight! A total of 82 pounds so far!

My top weight was: 356 pounds (the photo on the right/left side)

My current weight is: 274 pounds (weighed just the other day 02/16/17)

Total weight lost: 82 pounds

Total weight left to lose: 54 pounds

Long term weight loss goal: 220 pounds.

I went from a 5/6 XL shirts to 2/3 XL and 48 inch waist pants to 40 inch waist.

At my last doctor’s visit my blood pressure was 104/60 whereas my pressure used to be dangerously HIGH! At one point it was 200/120.

I’m losing weight by still just cutting out sugar and soda primarily. Once a week I’ll treat myself to a little snack but six days a week I’m cutting back my portions and not eating junk food or drinking soda. Even on weekends I’m finding it easier and easier to say NO to soda… I just don’t want to put all that sugar in my body. It’s so freeing to know that I don’t need FOOD to stuff and fill the void anymore. I can fill the “void” with clothes, and friendships, and life, and dating, and living! There’s no void to fill anymore because I’m just living.

The other thing that’s been really positive in my life is that after a dark time of depression & some health problems that resulted in me losing my job at Time Warner Cable, I ended up getting a job for a major health insurance company doing customer service. I started training on November 3rd 2016 and almost immediately I knew that this job is exactly where I was meant to be. I’ll write more about it later but this blog is about my coming out and standing on my own two feet so all I’ll say is that this job is the first place in my life that I have ever been 100% myself, open, free, and without fear… and everyone in my training class from the instructor and every classmate embraced me and accepted me. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life to be… well, to be myself once and for all, just myself. No more hiding, no more shame, no more looking over my shoulder, living in a constant state of fear of being found out. They all knew I was gay and they didn’t care. It was so freeing just being me!

And lastly, my brother that I was living with and sadly, not getting along with since I came out… we finally went our separate ways. This was a good thing. He needed to go his way and I needed to go my way. Now he can find his life and I can live my life. So I’m staying with my niece and her husband and kids until I find my very first apartment of my own and I can finally be on my own and start my very own life.

On New Year’s Eve I realized that this was the first New Year’s Eve that I wasn’t dreading the new year… that I wasn’t filled with remorse and sadness for the previous year. I was filled with SO MUCH hope for the coming year! And I’m still filled with hope for the coming year. I’m changing more and more every day and I believe the best is yet to come.

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And for no reason at all other than he’s gorgeous, here’s a photo of Aaron Kuttler, my man crush every day, all day. I got a thing for blondes with blue eyes. Enjoy!

 

When Will They Get It?

fullsizeoutput_268fI was scrolling through Instagram and I came across a post from this IG account that has close to 150,000 followers. It stopped me in my tracks. Normally, I would just ignore it, but this person has never posted anything like this and after the whole controversy surrounding Brandon and Jen Hatmaker and their recent “outing” on their affirming of gay marriage/relationships as unions that can be holy and blessed by God, I had to say something.

I basically asked what research he (the IG account admin) had done on this subject outside of reading Romans chapter one and his reply was “let’s start with Matthew chapter 19.” Okay, so he’s done no other research and he’s speaking so boldly about something that affects the lives of real life people. I went on to tell him that it astounds me how Christians like him can so blindly continue on with these kind of memes and trite flippant little  sayings that do absolutely NOTHING for the kingdom of God but push gay people away from Jesus and prove the stereotype that Christians are narrow minded, bigoted, ignorant, and mean.

How does this meme do anything for the gay person that has been rejected by his family and friends? What does it do for the lesbian that loves Jesus but has been ostracized from her church since coming out? Or the transgendered girl that has NO idea why she’s always felt like a boy for as long as she can remember? Or the boy that doesn’t know why he is equally attracted to both boys and girls but just wants to live his life, be successful, good, find happiness, and true love. How does this meme demonstrate the love of God that brought Jesus to earth to DIE for the sins of ALL mankind?

It doesn’t. It does NOTHING. Unfortunately, there is a vast majority of men and women in the Christian church today that have elevated being gay to the front line of sins and have somehow convinced themselves that it is their mission to make it known that THEY and GOD are repulsed by gays and their gay behavior.

Here’s a bit of info about me… I’ve basically had one girlfriend in my life when I was 27. And though we got engaged the relationship wasn’t serious.  I’ve never had a relationship with a guy. I’ve been called a puritan. I’m naturally a modest person. But, since coming out this past April, I’ve been called a sodomite more times than I can count. And every single time it’s by Christians that are speaking the “truth in love.” There is seriously something wrong here.

You might be asking why I still believe… why I still follow Christ… well, it’s because I’m not going to judge the goodness and love of Jesus by his idiot followers. Jesus is the one that died for me, He shed His blood, He saved me. I follow HIM, not the people that are flawed and in NEED of Jesus just as much as I am.

Here’s a great 30 minute video by David Gushee. He’s one of Christianity’s leading ethicists. He’s been speaking for years now on his change of heart and mind concerning gays and whether one can be gay and a Christian. I’ve watched a bunch of his videos. God bless him!

The Teen Years: Depression & Suicidal?

I remember the middle bedroom of our house where I lived from 12 to 17. Dark wood paneling, a single window, a closet, and a radiator. It was a cozy little shoebox and I loved it. I vividly remember the ages of 14 and 15 because it was around that time I contemplated suicide. I’m embarrassed to say it now but I figured the purpose of this blog is for me to tell my story of repression, suppression, oppression, and how I am finally living as my true self, so why not go deep?

To go back a little further there was a period of time in grade school where boys in the class turned on me and I became the single kid everyone seemed to make fun of and bully. You know, your classic throwing rocks at me as I walked home, calling me a fag, not letting me get off the school bus at my stop, and when I  was finally able to get off some girl stuck her leg out and tripped me… BOOM, I fell flat on my face holding my clarinet case in one hand. I don’t know why the clarinet case stands out in my mind. I was full of RAGE. I had visions of taking that clarinet case and jamming it into her face until all I saw was her broken nose and gushing blood. The worst part of it all is that I didn’t even know who she was. I still don’t. She just joined in the bullying for no reason at all. But I didn’t, I got off the bus and cried the entire walk home, which was now longer because I was at a stop farther away.

Talk about annoying and humiliating. I was eleven. But such is life. These experiences make us who we are.

Bullying and teasing can be torture for a kid. You have family that loves you but then you go to school and there are all these people telling you that just by being YOU there’s something wrong with you, you’re not good enough, you don’t matter. It messed with my fragile mind already struggling with sexuality and feeling like an outsider. It makes you feel like you’re broken, a defective product, abnormal. And that can fester and fester and linger like the odor of a skunk’s spray, irritating, permeating. When hormones are involved and all you want to “be normal” the way society explains normal to be, and all you want to do is fit in, be accepted, be loved, be liked, be yourself… and you feel like an alien, a misunderstood outsider with no other human to connect to… life can feel like the worst most awful joke.

God, I would pray, why would create me if you were going to make me gay and gay is wrong and disgusting and an abomination to you? Why would make me if you’re going to make me defective and wrong and unlikeable and annoying? I just don’t want to live anymore… I just want to die.

Over and over, night after night, tears soaked my pillow case as I cried myself to sleep feeling like I would never find my place in this world, like I could never be myself, like no matter what I would always be a disappointment and a failure so why even go on living. I thought about suicide many many nights. I was depressed. It was just teenage melancholy. I was depressed. I had always battled the looming black cloud that followed me casting a shadow over everything in my life. Being gay and feeling like I could never actually BE gay only exacerbated my depression and melancholy. I thought many times about how I could never slit my wrists… too chicken… and how maybe I could find a bottle of painkillers and swallow them… painless, romantic in a sense. I’d take them and go to sleep peacefully.

But then one day a thought popped into my head: “If you do this there’s no coming back. It’s done. Final. Once you’re dead you’re dead. Your story on earth is over and done. There’s no second chance, no missing your mother, no asking for a do-over. Once you’re gone, you’re gone for good.”

The finality of it all hit me like a punch to the gut and it frightened me so badly I never contemplated suicide again.

I’m 36 years old now and it’s only after the passing of my parents, the maturity that comes with age, and the weariness of having no fight left in me that I gave up and finally accepted what I’ve known for as long as I can remember: I’m gay. And it’s okay. Looking back I remember vividly the emotions that so bound me up in fear and anxiety and had convinced me that death was better than life, that suicide was better than admitting I was attracting to guys. The sheer mental torment is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy but it’s part of my story, part of my journey, part of what makes me me and I’m okay with that. I was blessed to hear that voice in my heart and heed that warning and I want to be that to other young people that even in this modern day are still struggling with who they are, living in that same fear and self-loathing. It doesn’t have to be this way.

It gets better, I promise.

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Cool Socks are Cool.

Every now and then Facebook, the all seeing, all hearing, all powerful entity sends up an ad in my news feed that I like such as this contest from Sock it to Me. I love doing random and creative things like designing socks! Who doesn’t? I didn’t know what to do but I wanted to enter the contest either way so I thought about what has been relevant in my life right now and that is my own personal “This is Who I Am” movement. So, I took the flag I designed and added it to a sock and then submitted it happily to the contest.

I’m also going to design a few more just for fun. Below is my entry form! sock912

For Loretta,

The Girl with the Golden Curls

Our sweet Loretta. A gift you were from the day of your birth. An adventurous soul, abounding energy, a light in you that not even the darkest disease could quench.

You were the heart of our family in so many ways, from the love you gave, the laughter you ignited, the way you made us feel special, how you would give your undivided attention.

To be in your presence one felt like the most special person in the world. All because of you.

Loretta, or Retta as I called you when I was so young and you were a giant to me in every way possible, my big cousin, my leader, my protector.

Loretta, my childhood friend, the bearer of my secrets, the little girl who taught me to read while sitting on the stoop watching the rain, and journeyed with me on countless adventures of our imaginations.

Loretta, the girl with the golden curls, the biggest smile that could light the world, and eyes as deep as the ocean is blue. Your soul was magnetic, your life force powerful, to know you is to love you and boy was our family blessed.

You were a gem, a special gift that God gave us all, a lesson to learn every day we live that if Loretta can do it, so can we, even in your most fragile moments you were stronger than the strongest man on earth for in you there was life, love, joy, and encouragement for others.

Loretta, the adorable girl with the golden curls, the girl that was always up for fun, the cousin that seemed to know everything, the girl with the fight in her to do it all, and never give up, you were my first friend, my cousin, my sister, and life will never be the same knowing you’re not in this world..

Our hearts are shattered but life will move on, I know you’d want us to keep going because you were always up for the next fun thing in life but for a time we’ll feel the sting of your passing like a sudden shock to our systems, leaving us breathless.

But we know that you’re free… free from the broken body that was weak on earth, free from the pain, the suffering… we know you’re smiling, I can hear your laughter all the way down here, I see the light in your bluest eyes again, and I smile through tears knowing you’re the girl with the golden curls ready and able for the next adventure.

I will hang on to the memories from 59th Road, the Easter Aunt Connie made a ton of candy and you, John, and I ate so much I threw up over the porch, the endless summer days swimming in the pool, the time the earthquake knocked you out of your bed, the Halloween escapades, the hours of conversations, the time you visited with a bag of 30 tacos from Taco Bell, playing board games in your basement, hanging out in our yards, taking a walk up Flushing Ave. to get a slice of pizza… and countless others…

Loretta, I love you, our family loves you and to love you is to miss you and to miss you is to grieve you terribly for there never was nor will there ever be another Loretta Rossi… you, my amazing cousin were one-of-a-kind and we were so lucky to have you for the time that we did.