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Becoming Positively Gay


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I just realized, according to my online join date, that I am rapidly approaching my enotalone.com first anniversary. I decided to scroll through my post archive and I reread alot of my threads that I scribed when I first joined. Alot can change in one year...

 

When I first joined the forums I was an emotionally distraught wreck. Literally, the day before, I had just--FINALLY--admitted to myself that I was(am) gay. At that point in time I couldn't even say it outloud; much less be confident enough to even consider what my life would be like nearly a year later.

 

Well, I'll preface this by stating that I've always known I was gay. I realized my sexual preferences were towards other guys around the ages of eight and nine. And I knew even earlier than that that I was "different." Even though sexuality was irrelevant to a 5 or 6 year old I just knew that I wasn't like everyone else around me. It wasn't until I started having crushes on boys in my classes in 4th and 5th grade that I started to know. Therein began my terrible descent into denial, self hatred, ambivalence, and antipathy, towards myself and life in general. From the ages of ten to only recently(one year ago)I vehemently denied being gay and I tried very hard to, literally, murder that part of myself.

 

Growing up a young gay teen, in Texas, in a devoutly fundamentalist evangelical background, is a living hell that no child should have to endure. It is difficult enough transitioning from childhood to manhood; but when you endure the heart ache of keeping an important part of yourself a secret; just so you will not be shunned and abandoned by those you care about, it kills you. Every single day I died a tiny death as I awaited a change that would not come. I cried everyday, and I prayed often, for a miracle to rid me of my accursed sexual feelings. My prayers and wishes led to more self hatred, which ravaged my self esteem, which culminated into a botched suicide attempt when I was almost 17-years-old...

 

The botched suicide led me to, "get saved" and "give my life over to Christ" and stop being a "sinner." And, for awhile, I thrived in a Christian fundamentalist setting. But it didn't take long for me to begin dying again. Everytime I read a homophobic scripture; listened to the people around me make homophobic jokes; or listen to my pedophile pastor legitamize homophobia from the pulpit; I began to internalize my self hatred again. I prayed harder. I lived in church. And I completely turned myself off to the possibility of love. Instead I lived in a fantasy world, dreaming of the perfect spouse(a female), the perfect house, kids, dog, and life. I held fast to that dream because I wanted to be, in my eyes, everything that was "perfect."

 

But it was to my detriment. I spent many years being lonely because of my self loathing and unrealistic expectations for my life. Finally, it got to the point where I felt like I would go stark raving mad. I had given up my life and settled for mediocre jobs and gave up on my dream of being a creative writer and artist. All I wanted was to be like everyone else, and I nearly went crazy in the process.

 

It was the death of my uncle that saved me. Nearly two years ago my uncle died of cancer. I went to his funeral and met my cousin--whom I had not seen since I was a child--who is also gay. He attended the funeral with his lifelong companion(partner); and seeing them together effected me in a profound way. For the first time I witnessed two gay men who did not fit into any stereotype. When I saw them together I realized that you could be gay and still be a wonderful human being. And that day I felt truly happy about something. That day allowed me to peep outside of the closet...And it subsequently allowed me to step outside of the dark confines of the closet.

 

In those first few days I was very scared. I was so afraid of what the rest of my life was going to be. What did it all mean? So I surfed the internet looking for someone to relate to. I needed to not feel alone. And coincidentally I found enotalone.com.

 

The website was a god send. To say that it helped me on my arduous journey to self love and acceptance would be the understatement of the century. When I made my first post I felt like I was trapped on an Island, alone. But the members of the GLBT(Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender) forum welcomed, embraced, and validated my feelings. For once in my life I didn't feel lonely and outcast anymore. Somedays, when I scribed my threads, I was sit at the computer and cry. That is when my healing process officially began...

 

I started out as someone that hated who, and what, he was to someone who is finally beginning to feel self worth and love for himself.

The members of the enotalone forums gave me the strength to open up and come out to my mother, subsequently freeing myself from the vicious cycles of inner turmoil and self flagellation. Since then(five months ago)it has been a roller coaster ride. Me and my mother have: argued, cried, hugged, said things we didn't mean, and ran the gamut of emotion. We've been through everything together, and this was the last hurtle.

 

Telling her was the best thing that happened; because it forced me to dive, head first, into the welcoming arms of the GLBT community. We went to our first PFLAG(Parents and Friends of Lesbians/Gays/Bisexuals/and Transgenders)meeting five months ago, and now my mom is a regular member who donates money. She still has her issues with her belief in Christianity(a faith that I no longer believe in, and gladly so); but, it did not break our relationship. Attending PFLAG allowed me to seek out a gay affirmative counselor who has been a tremendous help to me. Finally I am beginning to shuck away the shackles that have bound me for the majority of my life. Before I came out I was taught to fear and loathe the gay community. But I realized that they were not my enemies...They were all people just like me, who shared my feelings and experience.

 

While I still, occasionally, deal with the overwhelming ignorance of my sad and pathetic family members I now realize that it isn't my burden to bear. It is their problem. And I don't have to sad because of them. The struggles and tribulations that I have endured for the past several months have made me a stronger person. I've endured hatred and bigotry from my family, but I'm still here and I feel more empowered.

If you had asked me, over a year ago, if I would change who I was I would have answered yes. However, through soul searching and self acceptance I would say, absolutely NO. To change myself, or even wish for change, would insinuate that I was somehow "defective" or that I'm a mistake. I am not a mistake, and I'm not defective. I am fine just the way I am and it took me practically my entire life to see that.

 

I now view my sexuality as the long lost friend that I never wanted to know. I turned my back on him. I shunned him. And I even tried to kill him when all he wanted to do was be apart of my life. Now I see him, waving at me from a distance..This time around I accept him and I choose to love him with every fiber of my entire being. Because in order to love myself I must love all of myself. I no longer view my sexuality as a blight upon my life. I view it as a natural part of myself that is an important part of me but not all of me. So, no matter who has a problem with it(or me)I refuse to go back into the proverbial closet. The closet is for clothes and skeletons, not human beings.

 

I will probably never be a flamboyant gay activist, but I won't be who I was ever again.

 

It took me such a longtime to get to this place. And I am still working through things, but everyday I feel myself becoming stronger.

 

I used to look in the mirror and feel shame. Now, I am beginning to love the man I see staring back at me. Thank you enotalone for helping me to be Positive about being myself. I love everyone here for all the support that you've given me through all of this. I feel myself moving into a good place, and I thank you all for being the springboard for my growth.

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Have you ever been around a person who has such a commanding presense, that even people who don't know them seem to be compelled to do as they say? I have. And ever since a young age I have emulated these people in my actions.

 

Being gay, for me, has made me someone I never would have been if I was straight. It forced me to challenge absolutely everything about who I was, the organisation I was in (air force), and the community/family I lived in. It forced me into a position of honestly standing up and presenting myself for intense scruitny of both peers, friends, and family.

 

It has given me what has been, without question, the single most important lesson of my life... and that is that people take their que on how to act from your own actions. I have not had a single bad reaction to my sexuality. I served as the Royal New Zealand Air Force's first openly gay Air Force Officer without an incident related to my personal sexuality. I now contract to a number of government departments in senior consultancy roles, and not one member of any of our very conservative establishments has ever expressed a problem - indeed quite the opposite. What I have witnessed, is that the same behaviour is not extended to some fellow "family" (gay's). I leave no room for people not to have a problem with my sexuality (family included). It is such a trivial (yet fundimental) part of my existence, that I do not see why people should have an issue.

 

I have been told that it is my physical and verbal presense, the way I present and conduct myself, that leaves simply no room for negotiation on the acceptance of my sexuality. It is not something I hide, but it is not something I raise as personal issue any more than the next person. I introduce my boyfriend as just that, my boyfriend.

 

The challenge of dealing with your sexuality, as you seem to have experienced like me, has the potentially to give you such a massive boost in life experience and confidence that it totally revolutionises your life. I have no doubt that it has been the skills I have gained through challenging the world I lived in, as a result of my sexuality, that have led to the success in all other areas of my life.

 

I suppose then, that I would describe myself as moving even beyond being positively gay... to being positively myself. And when that leap comes, it opens up a massive world of opportunities too you.

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Fox, nice post and nice to hear about your transition.

Do pay attention to Icemoto's post...he is right on about the difference between learning to be gay and learning to be yourself.

 

And I would add that it's important to be honest, both to yourself and to others. And there is no better way to be honest than to just be yourself around those you care about. You've made great strides in this department with your mom, and even though it was difficult, it is always worth it at the end. Being honest and open, you will always find yourself having better and stronger relationships with others, and that is a good thing.

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That really touched me. It actually brought tears to my eyes (damn pregnancy hormones) and made me realize just how much everything can change in a year. I can also look back and see how much I've changed in one year.

 

The whole post made me think of the song "Who I Am Hates Who I've Been" by Relient K.

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Coming from the Texas Southern Baptist Bible Belt myself, I hear you loud and clear...

 

I had to come to the place where I understood that MY God loved me exactly the way that he made me in the first place... not the way that my family made me to twist me into their image of Godliness...

 

You have a beautiful soul, Fox. Don't hide it under your bushel ever again...

 

(can we go stalk Kyle XY together now, please?)

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Coming from the Texas Southern Baptist Bible Belt myself, I hear you loud and clear...

 

I had to come to the place where I understood that MY God loved me exactly the way that he made me in the first place... not the way that my family made me to twist me into their image of Godliness...

 

You have a beautiful soul, Fox. Don't hide it under your bushel ever again...

 

(can we go stalk Kyle XY together now, please?)

 

 

Vand, I have the binoculars! We just have to find out where he lives!

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FoxLocke I am happy to hear you are starting the procces of loving yourself..after all they do say before you can love someone else you have to love yourself.Your post touched me deeply and I wish you to continue growing in this positive light.I myself am a bisexual woman and it hasn't always been easy for me either.Most people think I am confused and don't know what I want,I do know and I am not confused by any means,even some of my friends say that I am mixed up.I know who I am and I am starting(like you are) to love myself and I am proud of that.

 

There was a quote Cher made and I loved it:

 

"I only answer to two people, myself and God."

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I read your post earlier today & I'm so proud of you! I admire you alot because of your growth & your stability.You seem like such a great guy & I think you can do great things. I'm glad that you can fully accept yourself & love you for who you are. As we get older, we grow & we mature into better people. You have definitely grown & remember to always keep your head up Foxlocke!

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I remember the first post you ever made here, Fox, and I'll have to say I've read every thread you've made since then about your progress. It is an accomplishment to be proud of, sometimes the hardest thing we have to face in life is ourselves.

 

It would seem to me you're clipping right along down the long road to happiness. The progress is amazing and to be admired, most definitely.

 

Especially when one comes from such a hostile opposing environment as we both have, and trying to cope with the inbetween of what they consider their moral right and what we consider our human right. Then in addition, all the other obstacles we have beyond just a family to deal with.

 

I really do hope things continue to look up for you in life. With a continuing positive attitude and growing acceptance I'm sure everything can only go up from here.

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