this blog is in response to a comment made to a blog i wrote in may 2009 titled “that’s so gay.”
here is the particular comment i want to talk about:
Hey Todd!! *hugs* I luv this blog entry man a lot!! Like I told u I’m still in the closet myself so I’m pretty much livin’ in misery each day I wake but I’m blessed to live to see another day. When I was younger I did act a lil fem but as the teasing got harder and I got older…I hit puderty…I start playn it str8 or as str8 as I can be & still is!! Don’t wry I feel very ashamed yet embarrassed b/c I have all the support in the world from my Tweeps like you but unfornately u guys aren’t stuck here in this awful situation I’m in… Believe me I’ve tried my best to get myself out of here but everytime I do I’m knocked right back to reality that I may never get the chance to leave here out of misery b/c it enjoys my company all to well!! Life is worth living it to the fullest & I feel like I’m just wasting mine…its passin’ me right on by & there’s nothing I can do about it but just let it be.. Some ppl were born 2 be successful & some were just born out of a mistake!! Which one is me is shutter to think?!?! Anyway man I will def keep ur blog on lock. I enjoy readn other OUT gay men stories, struggles, & determinations!! I’m proud to have ppl like u in my life to get to knw & learn 2 grow from. I’m blessed, u’re blessed!! L8r
this response, once i read it, broke my heart.
so this entry is written specifically to Brandon but is also for anyone out there who doubts the beauty of who they are.
first, “HUGS” back to you sweet friend and 1000 apologies for not replying to you sooner.
i remember now you told me you posted something but i forgot and apparently looked over the email from WordPress telling me I had a new comment. i just saw it when I blogged today.
OK now: the *most important* things, boo…and let these soak in:
- Your life is too short to feel shame about who you are.
- You were NOT born out of a mistake!
see, i believe that so much of what we’ve been taught about what defines success is complete bullshit along with the concept of having shame for being who you are.
you, sweet tweep, were created purposefully and lovingly by the Creator / God / The Universe. even if you were created out of what some refer to as a mistake (i.e. my genetic contributors did not plan to have me but even then i was not a mistake.)
EVERYONE—str8 or gay—is created with a purpose and endowed with the particular ability to be successful (oh and to walk erect and make decisions and hold a spoon). Please, whatever you do, count yourself among the predestined human race. You are not a mistake.
i guess another thing we’ve sometimes been taught indirectly and have just come to accept it is that our lives are meant to be easy.
“if i’m a good boy.”
“if i can just get enough money…”
“one day I’ll deserve it…”
and my least favorite: “if i love God enough…”
that’s all bunk! And so is the notion that “[God] wants you to be miserable so you can learn to appreciate him.”
life simply sucks sometimes.
life isn’t easy and i believe we should never have the expectation that it should be. (easier, maybe, yes. but easy? not necessarily.)
how else can you explain people being borne into poverty or extreme situations or into a family that won’t accept them being the square peg in a family full of the round ones.
that said, i do believe we can learn from difficulty. that it can serve a purpose. that we can use it to shape ourselves into better people. to sharpen ourselves. to gain clarity on just how wonderful our lives really are and/or how they can be.
it is not easy to change one’s position in life.
…to try and improve one’s circumstances.
…to summon the courage to step forward and be the person you know inside you’re created to be.
…to embark out on one’s own to try and discover who they really are.
one’s circumstances may not be ideal. the path may be thorny and there may be sleet and hail and no shelter and muddy and no starbucks and downright hard sometimes.
but the journey toward achieving our potential is always worth it.
i believe the universe (or God or Allah or the Center) wants us to be happy, to enjoy life, to receive positive things.
and i believe it is possible to experience Joy even in the midst of trial and tribulation.
speaking as someone who didn’t “come out Todd” (vs. coming out gay) until he was 38, I simply
- decided to stop hating myself
- refused to lower my expectations
- determined to realistic about life in the process.
there’s a proverb in the Bible written by a wise man that says “train up a child in the way he should go, and he will not depart from it.”
So many of us—self included—got that wrong. “force a child to go the way you think he should go and he’ll stay that way” is how it was used on me and how I applied it to my own children for a while.
but i was wrong; instead i believe the proverb means
“see…perceive…understand who this child is, how he is bent, and let him realize his potential, for if you do, he will succeed in life.”
sadly, many children don’t get that kind of opportunity—particularly those of us who are gay. AHHH the quashed potential i myself lost by having the creative, vibrant, enigmatic side of me ridiculed, hidden, ignored (although I’m trying to make up for it!).
what I would say to you—specifically Brandon but also to anyone else reading who is struggling with not just their sexuality but also their present life—despite how you feel “stuck” in your life now and like life is passing you by…
…life is passing. every SECOND. every minute. every day.
it is passing.
and it will pass while you think negative thots and allow yourself to be tied down by the bondage of those negative thots and the opinions and thots of what others think.
and that very same time will pass while you make efforts to change your life, be yourself, evolve—even in subtle ways. (a wise elderly friend once told me, “10 years down the road, you’re gonna be 10 years down the road.”)
appreciate what you do have—-every day. even if you can only summon 9 things. value those 9 things. and then daily search for other things that bring you happiness and joy. HELL—the fact you can pee by yourself is one worth celebrating! and as you focus on the good, and find more things that you are thankful for or that bring you happiness, you’ll find that you focus less on the negatives until they either disappear due to irrelevance or they simply no longer bring you down anymore.
and as the days tick by, work toward achieving what you want. visualize it. think about it. meditate on it. consider how you can be the person who achieves those things.
- do you want to move away and start over?
- do you want to learn a skill or task or something that will give you a better quality of life?
- do you want to be at a point where you can live an authentic life?
well if you never do start, you never will accomplish that which you desire. (or as my younger son says, “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”)
for too many years, i tried—somewhat unsuccessfully—to hide my true self and resented the beauty i was created to possess. i loathed myself. i denied my purpose. i refused to accept that i was good. and i often did not experience happiness or feel joy.
and then I stopped.
read that again.
i didn’t say i came out–gay.
i said i came out Todd.
and almost 4 years later…
i am still imperfect.
my life is far from ideal or perfect.
i still struggle with some of the same things many other human beings struggle with.
but my life is rich.
it is blessed.
i possess happiness and experience joy much more frequently than i ever have in my life before.
why? because i claim that happiness and joy and will it to be so.
so, even if you stay in the “closet” until you figure things out, the anticipation of the freedom you will feel and experience is like an elixir. and once you latch onto that, your life will change. heck—it seems like you’re already halfway there:
“so i’m pretty much livin’ in misery each day i wake but i’m blessed to live to see another day.”
how very right you are!
i hope you are encouraged by reading this.
and i hope you let go of any shame for being who you are and that you claim the rights of the beautiful person you are created to be.
sincerely and fondly
This is an incredible post. I find myself wanting to offer my insight, yet struggling to find anything to add that you haven’t already said.
The one thing I will say is that living life to the fullest is as much about attitude as much as it’s about specific situations or actions. One of the things that I’m fond of saying is that life is passion. If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing with as much gusto, excitement, and mindfulness as possible. I don’t care if it’s taking out the trash, hanging with friends, or pursuing a hobby. If you can’t get worked up about it, then it’s time to re-examine why you’re doing it. (Okay, you still have to take out the trash, or the landlord or whoever will get nasty with you.) So figure out what you absolutely enjoy doing and do it. Do it more. Do it often. Do it as if it’s an act of holy worship. (Hey, for me, it is an act of holy worship!)
As for changing things around and improving your situation, I’d offer two bit of advice Brandon (and anyone else, for that matter). First, remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. I’m guessing you’re still kind of young, so you hypothetically have a lot of time ahead. Yeah, you don’t want to sit around waiting for things to magically get better. But you don’t have to move to San Fran tomorrow, either. You have time to save up money, make plans, and do lots of other things.
The other thing I’d note is that it sounds to me like you (Brandon) need to give yourself permission to have a better life. Maybe I’m wrong (and if so, I apologize), but your comment suggests to me that on some deep level, you’re not convinced you deserve anything better than your current lot. That’s absolutely not true, and it’s one of the most self-sabotaging things to believe about yourself. So do yourself a favor and start working on that self-worth of yours. Allow yourself to see yourself as someone who deserves the happiness you want.
As an aside, also give yourself permission to be whiny. You mentioned that your ashamed because and embarrassed because you know great tweeps like Tdub. Why? Tdub’s great, I’ll be the first to admit. But it’s also not the same as being surrounded by such great people in real life. And it’s perfectly valid to both want to be surrounded by great people in real life and feel sad that you’re not at the moment. Don’t kick yourself for feeling the way you do. Again, that’s the road to self-sabotage. In order to change things, you have to give yourself permission to want things to change, too. It’s okay to say “I’m not happy about this.”
Anyway, Brandon, I wish you the best. You’re lucky to have met people like Tdub, and I hope you continue to meet more people like him. You seem to be a great guy. I’m just not sure you believe that yet. I hope that changes soon. 😉
wow. you’ve come a long way, baby! 🙂 so proud of you!
To the Todd I knew growing up…I wish you, me, and others were able to be ourselves and not have the struggles we endured in Smalltown, USA. However, such struggles made me who I am today. I am so very glad and appreciative to see the man you are today and know that he was there all along! It only took abit for you to love him too! I was grateful then and blessed now of the kind heart and joy you shared with me as a kid…you were a light of hope to me back in the day and I thank you for being Todd today! Blessings….hope to seen you soon!!!
This is really inspiring and really shows me more about how lucky I am to have you as my brother. Thank you for accepting us in your life and encouraging others to accept the good in their lives. You are really special and so loved.
Hey there my papi chulo, this is a great blog site…. Now I didn’t know what to say or where to say it. But I did promise that I would leave a note. I am proud of you. I glance over some of your writings they are encouraging and brave. I want you to do one thing and that DREAM BIG!!! don’t let anyone stop you from dreaming…. I look forward to seeing you at the top with JUNITO!!!! now how about that… YOu are great and I salute you….