Recently I had the pleasure to see the local production of Beauty and the Beast. Seeing a musical is always at the top of my list. Ive known the story for a long time although I still haven’t seen the latest Emma Watson incarnation which I’m sure would be brilliant sealing it in the hearts of future generations. Judging by all of the little kids dressed as Belle, I’ve already underestimated its popularity.
If you’ve guessed that this somehow ties into my life, you’d be right. I watched the production and was mentally tying in to it all of the similarities between myself and the beast. Did you think I was going to say Belle? Ok, that thought was worth a chuckle wasn’t it ? A thing that stood out was how the beast was seen as ugly/threatening by those that did not know him, how close he came to fulling bottoming out and losing it all and that he could display his inner beauty when he was able to drop his guard and trust in the people around him. It did take some persistence by Belle and I can see that working on someone like me.
Ironically, in my own life when I’m walking down town on my lunch break I often feel like a space alien that people steer clear of. Especially I would say women give off that vibe. When people react in this way it makes it feel like it may be impossible to ever be given the chance to open up to anyone. This I’m calling beast similarity number one: A loneliness brought about by the walls others put up around themselves. A body in motion tends to stay in motion, especially if it is walking down the street.
The second beast similarity: being isolated leads to more isolation. How would the beast change the pattern of his existence if there is no one close enough to him to befriend? You can say about my life, how would I overcome loneliness when my house resembles the beasts castle? There are a total of 4 people in my house that make up my friend list. Unless I can somehow convince more people to come in to the house, that house will not be the key to making the house a place of joy.
The third beast similarity is that ultimately a hand/paw must be extended to draw people in. Persistence by both parties are needed to to start cooking up something meaningful in the friend department. This time it is Belle that demonstrates this point. If we had turned to run after her first encounter with the beast the whole story would never have happened.
Looking back at this list I could have titled this as What Beauty and the Beast taught me about life but I found it a lot more interesting to relate it to my life. Who knows, maybe its time to bring some new life behind these castle walls to start a whole new story.
What does Kimmy have to do with exercise? Truthfully it was the first show that I watched when I started on the treadmill and the arrival of its new season seems to be a sign that I take my first stab at trying to exercise again in a long while. It was the perfect plan …. it was the four seasons (?) previous where I started to make the weight melt off before so it seems like a sign that with the arrival of the new season, the timing was right to take another shot at this.
This is not a weight loss story. If you’ve read my entries before you’ll know a lesson often arrives with these little revelations in my life. Mental health is not something I understand but acknowledge is something I do grapple with. Typically a compulsive action starts to occur and I need to figure out what is triggering things. This time I’m quite convinced a lot of this was related to my quitting nicotine gum. I’m not a fan of smoking and I find I fall off the wagon every so often which I figured had to do with being on a nice strong dosage of the gum. Me and self medicating are a really, REALLY bad combination.
Its also around this time that things are just off the charts going ‘bad’ when I remember that exercise did actually lift my moods to almost an acceptable level. Then along comes the new season of Kimmy Schmidt. I gave Kimmy and the treadmill a shot once again to try and re-align myself. The result? Kimmy was great, the treadmill kicked my but, I schvitzed but I did feel the tiniest bit better taking it all in afterwards. Is this a sign of things to come? Did Kimmy save my life? Sometimes we forget get to invest in ourselves when we suit up to fight mental illness and I’m going to try and keep going and see what happens.
The way I see it, I have two big challenges front and center with me: Should I come out now that the road blocks are all gone and if I did what would I come out as ? Let me put out there that it would not be the worst thing for me to get outed via social media or by me being involved in pro LGBT activities or expressing my opinions. I think I could live with it happening that way. What I am talking more about here is coming out in the traditional sense of announcing it as a matter of fact to those that matter in my life and hoping they still remain close. Further to complicate this, announcing your new sexual orientation requires stating what your new norms are. A tougher thing to do especially if you don’t like labels and being put into someones tidy little ‘orientation box’.
After my mother passed away, it took me some time to realize there wasn’t a lot of reasons to remain closeted anymore. It was her I felt I was protecting from the radical turmoil that I could unleash on to my life and hers. Was I being a big weenie for holding this in? probably. If you mix in the problems with anxiety and depression that I have, you start to weigh these decisions more heavily trying not to have anxiety and depression controlling the outcome. Things are not always seen as clearly as others without these problems would see them. What I do know is that there is a sense of peace flowing through me regarding my ‘secret’.
I had a fight with my wife the other day at the end of the night as we were settling in to watch some TV before bed. I was ready to enjoy some quiet time together but she had other plans. It was time for the classic ambush and time for me to explain why the old me came back after an appearance of the ‘good’ me surfaced for two days after my mother passed. Did you know there was a ‘good’ version of me that I constantly try to live up to? I apparently was more thoughtful, kind, attentive and I became a good listener during this period. She did not like that life had gone back to the usual. I on the other hand did not see it. I was still being myself believing I was being more attentive, more kind and more appreciative of my surroundings and family. If there was an improvement in the situation I attributed it to us both being off work and having tons of time to think about things and be reflective. I did ask why she felt the need to attack me in this way and what kind of positive outcome could possibly come from having a ‘conversation’ this way. I didn’t really get an answer to this but let the blows fall as they may cursing myself for letting my guard down in the first place. Thats when it occurred to me if I really made her that unhappy I could offer to leave, come out or both. That still blows my mind to think of the options now that the roadblocks are gone. As I reflect back on that event I feel a glimmer of hope that there might be something good on the horizon or perhaps just change.
Quite possibly the worst part (for me) about coming out is claiming a sexual orientation. It seems like it is socially acceptable to go to the same gender. ie. I liked girls but realize I’m more into men. It however seems like you break what is acceptable and you have a problem if you (as a male for example) want to be with women, men and then women again. This feels like a one shot deal and you better get it right. Oddly this worries me as I am one of those people that always has a backup plan. If I truly believe what I’ve said then you would realize there is plan B once you put it out there. You can only do this once and it will stick for always. No pressure …
No coming out discussion would be complete without doing some inner reflection on just how ready you think you are. Are you ready ? How much have you prepared yourself mentally, financially or socially? Is this something you can just roll with and everything will be alright? As an introvert, I can say that often I’m guilty of over thinking things, especially the larger decisions in life. I think that if you can keep yourself in a good place mentally you are more likely respond appropriately to whatever life throws your way and that includes whatever stresses come your way as a result of coming out. These days I think this is often referred to as self care.
Perhaps my hesitation to come out is why I push the envelope daily and express myself a little more each time. When it happens it will happen. Some day what is on the inside will be on the outside… and you’ll be first in line to hear about it.