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.
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.
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:
- I started working at a great new job which I love.
- I made new friends which accepted me for me.
- I got my own apartment, on my own, finally.
- I asked out a guy at work and even pursued him a little. (BIG STEP FOR ME!)
- I’ve gotten more and more comfortable in my own skin.
- 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.
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.
I’m smiling. I’m happy.