My Mother Always Knew.

IMG_1031

My beautiful Mommy & grumpy me. Christmas circa 1980.

It was April 1st, 1979 that the doctor called the house to tell my mother the pregnancy test came back positive and she was, in fact, pregnant with her sixth child. My mother, in true dramatic fashion, screamed and yelled that it was an April Fool’s joke and proceeded to ask “how” this could be. The doctor, ever the comedian, said: “Gloria, this is your sixth child, I don’t think I need to tell you how. Your husband can lay his pants next to your bed and you’ll get pregnant.” My mother hung up the phone, screamed and cried and threw herself on the bed in fear and worry. WHY? Because I was the sixth child in a crowded family and the brother right before me was only seven months old. She was overwhelmed and a little embarrassed she had gotten pregnant so soon. I was NOT planned.

SURPRISE! 

The long story short was that my father comforted my mother and assured her the same way they took care of five kids they’d take care of six and as far as being embarrassed about being pregnant with a sixth child at 33 (yes, she felt old) and having a seven month old son, well, I guess she just got over that part and learned to not give a shit what people thought. It didn’t take very long for my mother to fall in love with me. Truth be told she LOVED being pregnant, she loved having kids, she loved babies, she loved hearing children in her house, and all the chaos that comes with it. She LOVED being a mother. I was a surprise, I was obviously not a planned pregnancy but I never once felt unloved or unwanted.

I was born November 10, 1979, and when I was born I didn’t cry immediately. My parents panicked. It’s not that they were amateurs by any means but in between their first three sons and the second three they lost a full-term baby boy in a tragic way just three hours after he was born. When I entered the world and didn’t make a sound the panic from eight years earlier hit them like a ton of bricks. NOT AGAIN! Not again! The doctor whisked me away to a corner of the room and worked on my silent little body massaging me. talking to me, and assuring my parents they give babies up to five minutes to cry. My father was over her shoulder hounding her for answers. I’m sure what was just 30 seconds to a minute felt like hours to my parents. And then, as my mother described it, “you finally cried and sounded like a weak little kitten.” I can imagine the sense of relief they felt when the doctor handed me to my mother, safe, healthy, and with no complications.

Fourteen months earlier my brother J. was born and according to the story of his birth exited the womb SCREAMING his head off and as soon as he was born it started pouring raining in Queens, NYC.

What a stark contrast between the two births. And for the rest of our lives even till this day, we couldn’t be any more different. He’s tall, I’m short. He’s light, I’m dark. He’s loud, I’m quiet. He’s messy, I’m clean. He’s athletic, I’m artistic. He’s a flirt, I’m awkward. He’s straight, I’m gay. He’s fat, I’m skinny… no, that last one isn’t true. Most of my brothers have a weight issue. haha

In the same way that I don’t believe my father did anything differently in raising my brother J. and me, I don’t believe my mother did anything different either. J. and I were together ALL the time… anyone with a sibling just a year or so older that they grow up with spends a lot of time with that person. The two of us were known as “the boys” by the family and extended family. We were also the youngest cousins in the family, we were a package deal. And the contrast between the two of us was obvious. I wonder if my mother knew or could see the differences in me from the very beginning. I wonder when she started to really see something different in me?  I believe it was probably when she came to pick us up from our daycare one evening and she saw me playing with a little girl and a tea set. She saw something that day that concerned her and she took me to a child psychiatrist. I was maybe four or so. How do I know this story? Well, when I was about 18 she told me. She also told me that she NEVER told anyone that she did that, not even my father. My mother was a trip.

293337_10150273921416331_954521221_n

My Parents’ 25th Wedding Anniversary May 1988

Somewhere along the line, I got it in my head that to be gay would be the tipping point in my mother’s life that would send her over the edge and be the worst of the worst thing she could ever hear or deal with. I believed it would crush her and embarrass her to have two gay sons and I just couldn’t HURT her so I hid who I was, I suppressed myself, repressed my feelings, and lied to my parents and everyone I know. I did it out of love and made the sacrifice out of not wanting to bring any pain to my mother. Was I wrong? I don’t know. I did it with sincerity and love.

In the midst of that sacrifice, there were many years I truly believe God could and would change my orientation and bring a wife into my life… I fantasized about the day I would be a husband and a father and I would be the “normal” guy I always dreamed of being. Then I could finally put my mother’s fears (as I perceived them) to rest and live happily ever after as just another straight bloke. But that never happened and before I knew it my mother was diagnosed with cancer and within fifteen days she was gone. Two years later my father was gone. And then I realized they died and I never got to be my real and true self with my parents.

I can’t describe to you how awful it feels knowing I will never ever have the chance to tell them who I am. I can’t really put into words how painful it is knowing that all of my life with my parents there was always a discomfort in me being around them. I was always “on” and always worried they were thinking something about me, wondering about me, examining my every word and move. It’s a terrible thing to constantly feel uneasy around your parents just because you’re afraid to breathe and be yourself.

The thing I realize now is that my mother always knew anyway… I never confirmed it and she never pushed. I’m not sure why she didn’t just say to me: “It’s okay if you’re gay. I’ll love you know matter what.” Maybe she didn’t want to embarrass me. I also never had the courage to be open and honest with her even though I could talk to her about anything. This was the one thing we just couldn’t talk about with each other. The elephant in the room we both pretended wasn’t painfully obvious. But it’s a choice we both made and we went on with that choice and now there’s no going back.

What does it matter anyway? She always knew anyway…  224728_10150168414176331_500716330_7187527_4324053_n

Thanksgiving 2010

I love you so much, Mommy, and I’ll love and miss you forever & always. 

 

I’ve Never Been in Love.

Do I deserve to be in love?

It sounds like such a silly, nonsensical question but when you’ve heard something for so long and it’s been ingrained in your mind it starts to take root. Intimacy, love, companionship, sex, those are for male/female relationships exclusively. To be a man that doesn’t have the ability to fall in intimate love with a woman but desires intimate love with a man, you’re crap out of luck because you just allowed to. You need to suck it up, embrace your suffering life of celibacy and deal with the loneliness because to fall in love is not something you will ever have the ability to do… it’s something you have the right to do.

So… am I deserving of love?

As I discussed in an earlier blog, my brain, for whatever odd reason, is wired a little bit differently than 97% of my family. My body chemistry may have a different balance, who really knows? Look, I can appreciate the incredible beauty of women, their grace, their loveliness, their stunning form, and the amazing things they can do. They can carry life and bring it forth! WOW! As much as I love and adore women, I just don’t have the ability or overwhelming desire to fall in love with a woman.

*le sigh* I tried. I tried for so many to be straight. As attractive as I can find a woman and even as sexy as I might find her, when it crosses over into anything sexual, it becomes awkward and uncomfortable and I just… I can’t see her in that sexualized way. That may be a bit much for this blog post so I’ll stop there.

Anyway, what I do have is the ability to fall in love with a GUY, a dude, another man! And though I’m 36 and I’ve never actually been in love, I’m a hopeless romantic beleving one day I’ll find true love! As of now, the closest I’ve been to being in love is the  classic tale of the gay guy in love with his straight best friend. See melodramatic homemade meme:

IMG_7416

To answer my question and hopefully to answer the question of someone that might be reading my simple words, yes, I deserve to be in love and you do as well. Just because we love differently it doesn’t mean we should go the rest of our lives never experiencing the joys of loving and being loved in return. (Watch Moulin Rouge)

It’s a beautiful thing when boy meets boy. 

When I saw the video below it was the first time I ever heard the Macklemore song Same Love. I know, I know, I’m REALLY late to the party. Anyway, this video was shown at an LGBT event where the song was performed live. Click HERE to read a little more about it. I LOVE the initmacy shown in this video. I kind of wish they would have chosen at least one regular guy but whatever…

marry me from elvisdifazio on Vimeo.

This video is a real life couple’s wedding. It’s a beautiful love story.

Jimmy & Jonathan’s Wedding from SweetCinema on Vimeo.

And lastly, here’s the original Macklemore & Ryan Lewis video for Same Love.

Now, you go out there and find your one true love, you deserve it!

I’m Torn… I’m All Out of FAITH!

This past April, when my journey toward coming out really began to take shape, I made yet another YouTube discovery in Justin Lee the founder of the Gay Christian Network and author of the book: TORN.

Justin is an openly gay Evangelical Christian, blogger, and author. I was raised Catholic but converted to Evangelical Christian when I was 15 years old so right off the bat, I was intrigued with what he had to say. In our faith being gay and being a Christian do not go hand-in-hand and one cannot be both a Christian and gay so to find Justin and see he was still serving the Lord was comforting to my heart. I knew if he could do it, I could do it.

It’s a strange place to be knowing many Christian people will question you and tell you that you’re living in sin and God is not with you and also gay people will ask you why you would still be a Christian when Christians have so mistreated gays for so long. It can feel like there is no place you really fit in. But just because I made the decision to fully accept and admit what I already knew I  was didn’t mean I wanted to walk away from my faith and abandon my Lord. God is good and I have experienced the peace, love, and joy of knowing Jesus. Why would leave Him? I didn’t want to leave my faith. And I shouldn’t have to!

The video below is one that really stood out to me because the passage in 1 Corinthians is often quoted to gays, especially when they’re Christians that come out… this actually happened to me last week when I made an official Facebook declaration of my gayness. An old acquaintance messaged me and this very passage was used to give me a warning that I needed to reconsider my decision because being gay is a sin that excludes us from heaven. I like how Justin explains things in this video and even goes into the Greek definition of the original texts.

He also ends the vide0 with the passage I copied below so you don’t have to look it up. I used the NASB as it’s the translation I read on a regular basis.

Romans 13:8-10 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves [a]his neighbor has fulfilled the law. For this, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love [b]does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

Another of Justin’s videos that really made sense to me was the one that discusses whether or not we, people/humankind, were designed for heterosexuality. The simple answer is, yes, of course it’s God’s perfect design but we live in a fallen world where things don’t always work perfectly, as designed but God works with us in the midst of the brokenness. God works with us when things don’t work the way He initially designed them to work. This takes some thinking outside the box but isn’t God bigger than the stupid little boxes we put Him in? When I think of eternity, the vastness of it, I think of how BIG God is, and how maybe, just maybe, this is how He created me to be, for a reason… and it may not make a lick of sense to me now but one day it will all become crystal clear. Okay… so maybe I’m a little TORN but I’m not all out of FAITH! Look, all I know is, I didn’t do the hardwiring of my own brain, that was out of my control for sure… that was by His design, and for whatever the reason may be, I turned out a little different the original blue prints.

Tom Goss is Cool.

This post is going to seem random but I just want to mention a singer/songwriter I’ve recently found on YouTube that I think is a sweet, genuine, kind-hearted person with a beautiful voice, a great love story, and the prettiest blue eyes… sorry, whether you’re a guy or a girl, if you have stunning eyes like Tom, I’m going to compliment them. As someone with plain ole chocolate brown eyes I can’t help but notice really striking eye color.

I’m writing this blog about Tom Goss and his music to highlight his talent because 1, I believe in encouraging and supporting other artists and 2, giving credit where is due. Tom is doing great things in music by just being himself and making the music he wants to make. He’s making songs that he knows will primarily reach an audience of his peers in the gay community and that takes a lot of courage and guts to “take one for the team.” Chances are the songs won’t be huge money makers and they won’t catapult him to megastardom but it appears he’s doing it for a greater purpose and that is something really commendable. Kudos to you, Tom Goss!

stock-photo-41006006

Anyway, I found this video Son of a Preacher Man and was really moved by it… I’ve watched it an easy 20 to 30 times since discovering it this past weekend.

My family didn’t react like this, obviously, I came out at 36 (this past April) and not 16, and though my church experiences were nowhere near this extreme, I know there are young men and women that may experience things this severe. The song moved me, probably just seeing the intimacy between the boys and knowing I’ve still never experienced anything like that and I’m pushing 40 years old. It’s still a battle of my mind in reconciling that my past is my past and there’s no way to go back in time and relive my 20s. It’s over and done with and I just HAVE to move on and look forward to the future.

Another one of Tom’s wonderful songs and videos is a sweet love song with the video of Tom and his husband Mike’s wedding. The YouTube caption to the video simply reads:

“October, 2 2010 was the best day of my life. Happy Valentine’s Day sweetie, I love you.” 

Tom has a really sweet tenor voice, which I love, because I’m also a tenor, so I can hang with him when I’m watching his videos. I also really enjoy the creativity of his videos. This next video is really beautiful in its simplicity… if you love dance and how the human body can move beautifully and gracefully, you’ll love this one.

Another thing about Tom that’s well known in the gay community is that he is married to a bear and he is attracted to heavier guys as he states in interviews. As a heavyset/stocky guy that hopes to find someone as sweet, kind, and yes, as handsome as Tom one day, the fact that he is so in love with Mike and he is all about Bears that he even made a music video about it, is just great. It gives me hope. Look, I’m a work in progress… I’m working on my confidence and it’s improving but I still have insecurities just like everyone else. By the way, I’m a bear who is losing weight 38 lbs down, woo hoo!

The Bears video is pretty funny and a little silly!

Thank you for the Bears video and song, Tom! You give me hope! I’ll admit though that THIS Bear needs to lose 95 lbs more… but you still give me hope! *Le sigh* If only tomorrow I could bump into my very own Tom Goss, sweet, genuine, kind-hearted, a lover of Bears, with sparkling blue eyes… life would be grand.

If you don’t know who Tom Goss is, check him out & visit his website! 

Growing Up Gay… 90s Edition.

If you’re a fellow gay, do an Instagram search for #GrowingUpGay and enjoy some funny and relatable memes that will show you that you were, in fact, not alone in your awkward childhood gayness.

With that said, I’d like to do posts every so often about my own experiences growing up gay in the 80s and 90s. I know that at the time I was growing up being gay wasn’t as bad as it was years earlier but it definitely wasn’t the way it is now and truthfully, it’s never easy to be yourself when being yourself is gay.

I remember one random Sunday afternoon in the early 1990s I was hanging out in my bedroom in our house in Middle Village, Queens, NYC. It was the bedroom with two windows, the one at the top of the stairs, next to the bathroom. I remember I had a TV and I remember at that time I loved doing arts and crafts while watching TV. I loved making things with my hands. This one Sunday afternoon I stumbled upon a movie titled:

What if I’m Gay? 

When you’re growing up gay and you’re alone in your room with a lock on your door and you find a movie titled “What if I’m Gay?” you think ONE THING: JACKPOT! Why? Because you know it’s going to be such a release, a relief, a cathartic experience to see someone express how you feel at a time when you have NO ONE to talk to and you’re lost in a constant cycle of your own thoughts.

Can you believe I still remember bits and pieces of that movie? Like when the gay character tells his friend not to worry about being gay because the friend is: “straight as an arrow.” That cheesy after school special really helped me sort things out. It helped me see and understand that I was just being me and that I this is who I am. What that character was feeling and thinking is what I was feeling and thinking. I WAS Todd. I AM TODD.

Well, I was searching YouTube for a scene from the early seasons of ER when I stumbled upon that very same after school special: What if I’m Gay? I watched it again and it was actually still really relevant and made total sense. It was really good. The way the character Todd explains himself and how he feels, is awesome. I want some people in my life to watch that movie NOW in the hopes it’ll make sense to them about who I am and how I feel and that this isn’t a choice.

Growing up gay is… walking a tight rope, always on, keeping up the facade, putting on an act, learning how to lie, keeping those lies straight, living in fear of being found out, trying to be “normal,” just wishing for a moments peace, worried about the moment when those you love will abandon you, just trying to find a place you fit in, feeling like an outsider, and wondering why you had to be different when all you want to do is fit in… it can be frustrating but like all things it passes and with childhood comes adulthood and like they say: IT GETS BETTER.

My childhood was different but it wasn’t all bad. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Whether gay or straight everyone has good and bad in their life and it’s what makes us who we are. For me, what made me the incredibly charming guy I am is that I had the incredibly dramatic experience of growing up gay. And you know what? That’s OK.

2c91c52f9cfd2031b3adb17691b9bb3f83095895f6916b32a36a1d8740329d7b_1

Fatty Mcfatpants!

Stocky. Chubby. Fat. Heavyset. Overweight. Big. Chunky. Husky. Beefy. Bear.

No matter what you call it, overweight is overweight and I just don’t feel comfortable being overweight. No matter how I slice it or dice it, my health is not up to par when my weight is tipping the scale and taking a shower leaves me out of breath. This is where I found myself at 354 lbs at 36 years old. Unreal. I felt DISGUSTING. 

From the time I was about 10 years old I started gaining weight. I went from a normal sized child to husky and from husky to chubby and from chubby to fat. By my teens I was full blown overweight. As we know from previous posts I was dealing with the emotional issues of hiding and suppressing my latent homosexuality which left me feeling pretty empty and with no one to talk to about what I experiencing I turned to food for comfort. I thought I just lacked control and enjoyed junk food and soda and eating but really food was my constant friend, my loyal companion, we had lots of fun together, and don’t mistake a sugar rush for just as addicting as a HIGHIMG_8532

 

By the time I was 20 years old in August of 2000 I weighed 310 lbs. I was shocked. How did I get SO big? I was wearing 3 xl shirts and 46 pants. I’m only 5’7. By September of 2000 I went to a small Bible School in Pennsylvania and while living on campus with three meals a day and nothing to do but chores, class, and taking walks around campus with my friends, I lost weight. By the time I graduated in April of 2003 I was probably between 250-260. I was wearing a 2 xl shirt and a 42 pants.

A few months after graduation I was in a psychology 101 class and the most handsome guy sat next to me the first day. He was a personal training who had moved to Opelika, AL from Miami, FL. He was short (I have a thing for short guys) with black hair and brown eyes and very good looking. I was smitten and couldn’t stop thinking about him. I noticed him looking at me during class. I was A LOT smaller than I am now, a lot smaller than I was when I first went to Bible School, probably still around the 250-260 range and still wearing 2 xl shirts. I was heavy but not GIGANTIC.

I remember one day right before class started he went to the bathroom. That morning I had cut my lip pretty bad while shaving. Right after he went to the bathroom it started bleeding kind of noticeably. I was nervous because he was in the bathroom but I needed a tissue and to wipe up the blood. So went I to the bathroom and got a tissue and was cleaning the blood in the mirror when he finished up and was about to leave the bathroom until he saw me and made a beeline right for me. He struck up a conversation and I panicked but tried remain friendly. Another time he started a conversation in the hallway as we left class and I panicked again. I froze like Mary Catherine Gallagher from SNL. AWKWARD. I was petrified of anyone I knew seeing me talking to this handsome guy, panicked God would strike me down with a bolt of lightning, panicked about what I might do if he really was “talking” to me in THAT way. I stopped going to that class. Le sigh.

I never saw him again. His initials are W. T. I’ll never forget him. I’m not entirely sure he was talking to me because he was just being friendly or because he was interested in me but I’ll never know. I know from looking back at pictures I was NOT the fat, ugly, hunchback of Notre Dame I THOUGHT I was. After that incident and a couple of other times with other dudes I found attractive where there was prolonged eye contact, I began to gain weight. And gain weight. And gain weight.

Fast forward to my thirties and both my parents pass away, I make peace with coming out, and I’m in counseling… while talking with my counselor I discover that I had this immense fear that if was attractive to guys I would have allowed myself to actually pursue relationships and because I was so set on hiding and suppressing my gayness I MADE myself fat on purpose because I figured if I was FAT and TRULY UNATTRACTIVE no gay man would want to be with me. It worked. I had NO confidence, no man was attracted to me, and therefore it was VERY easy to suppress who I was and live a life of celibacy.

I used to think it was a load of bullshit when I’d hear people say that morbidly obese men and women needed to identify the REASONS why they overeat in order to conquer their addiction. I thought it was all just people making bad choices and emotion had nothing to do with food and eating. I was wrong. Since figuring out WHY I overeat I’m proud to say I’ve lost 38.4 lbs and food NO LONGER has a hold on me. I’ve cut my sugar intake by 95%, I’ve cut my soda intake by 98%, and my junk food by 95%. I’ve cut my portions dramatically and I can literally say NO to cravings. I guess it’s not a load of BS.

I’ve got 95 lbs to lose but I’m on the right path and I KNOW I can do it. I’m not losing weight to find a guy, I’m losing weight to gain my health, find my confidence, and yes, when I’m healthy and confident I believe the right guy will come into my life. Weight has been a life long struggle but at least now I don’t have a reason to purposefully MAKE myself fat and unattractive. I now have the POWER to say no to the bad foods and melt away the fat to unveil the person that’s been here all along.

Say goodbye to Fatty Mcfatpants!

BeforeAfter315
Total Weight loss from Feb. 23rd 2016 to Aug. 2016 38.4 lbs.

IMG_7475

IMG_6989
April 2003. Graduation from Bible School 23 Years Old.

Boring Briefs & Bros.

Underwear and bros. What do these two things have to do with each other? Well, the underwear a struggling gay Christian chose to wear as well as having healthy non-sexual male friendships were believed to be useful tools in helping to cure him of his unwanted same sex attractions.

What the fu…? Allow me to explain.

During one of the absolute most miserable, uncomfortable, and awful weeks of my life, I learned about these two, how shall I say, techniques, in small group meetings at the 2008 Exodus International yearly conference which was held in Asheville, NC. My only enjoyable time of the week was the visit to the Biltmore Estate. Anyway, during one small group the speaker talked about underwear choices and during another small group the other speaker talked about male friendships. Sounds interesting, right? One was about retraining the brain to not be stimulated and the other was about finding companionship and intimacy WITHOUT the sexual intimacy. The second one is torture, even the speaker admitted it.

Here’s the teaching behind the underwear theory which absolutely does NOT work. Look, obviously sex is part of being gay just as sex is part of being straight. People are different though so to expect gay men to be exactly like straight men would be ridiculous. Do men in general like to wear underwear that makes them feel desirable, sexy, attractive? I think so. Is it every single day? Probably not. Do gay men like to wear kind of colorful, fun, “sexy” underwear more often, probably. So, the theory is that if wearing that kind of underwear is a sexual turn on for you, then don’t wear it. Don’t put yourself in  a place to be tempted by sin. Now, I’ve never really worn that kind of sexually appealing underwear because I’ve always been a fatty but I’ve always thought that if I lost weight I’d like to wear some better, more fun, more attractive looking underwear… what twenty something doesn’t. Well, guess what? In all these years of wearing the ugliest, plain, old man Fruit of the Loom white briefs I still have a thing for blondes with blue eyes and short guys are my weakness. So the underwear theory doesn’t seem to work… If it worked for anyone out there, please message me and let me know.

Collage_Fotor

BROS BEFORE… BOYFRIENDS? The theory behind this method of reparative therapy is that the gay man is lacking the healthy male bonding he didn’t get in childhood or the three A’s: attention, affection, and approval and by engaging in healthy, non-sexual friendships with heterosexual males he can make up for what was missing in his childhood. This sort of male bonding can fill the void. I can tell you that there were some wonderful friendships I had with AWESOME, amazing guys that loved me and treated with me such tenderness and care… there was J., P., and B. in Alabama and P., J., and M. in Pennsylvania. Do you know what happened with most of them at certain points in the friendship? I ended up developing a crush them! I even believe I was in love with one of them. You know the story, the gay guy that fell in love with his straight best friend. *Le sigh* The theory of having healthy male friendships to make up for the missing piece of attention, affection, and approval? It didn’t work. It’s like pouring a bottle of water in the ocean… it’s never enough. And as the friendship gets closer, the bond deepens, all I found is that the friend became attractive to me and I wanted to be closer and closer to him. I developed a crush on my buddies. Really, what good did that do? It just made me feel gayer!

When I tell you I gave reparative therapy a 110% effort for MANY years, I’m not kidding. I tried. I really really tried to be cured. I tried to be straight. I tried to be fixed. I tried to be normal. I just doesn’t work. Trying these methods left with me nothing more and nothing less but boring underwear and crushes on my friends. That’s it.

2013-03-29-original860-thumb