Netflix and Chill ? Not the way I do it …

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Getting things out in the open is very therapeutic. It makes you re-evaluate what you are doing and where things are going. You’ve got those subtle changes and the larger ones that can change your life. One of my changes involves Netflix …. and a treadmill. Hidden away in my basement alone and in private I sweat to the latest Netflix has to offer. Up inclines, down hills and the straightaways … I …. I … exercise ….

Did you ever know you were supposed to do something but you just refused ? You felt like giving life the middle finger one more time? You’re in a life situation you never wanted and things involving ‘you’ haven’t gone right in a long time. For me it turns out exercise is the equivalent to being on the right path. The sweat you give, fighting against yourself somehow nudges you closer to a place you want to be.

Unable to be your true self, in my case being a closeted gay guy, its going to take a lot of life changes to get to where I need to be. Your cross to bear might be something else. Pulling yourself up and your head above water seems to effect us all in different ways. If only you could catch a break and figure out how to do that. Most of us are looking for that one thing to kick start the process before we take one more step down.

Yes, exercise has been a dirty word in my vocabulary for a long time but it looks to be my first step up. I’ve got many aspirations. To be fashionable for once in my life and develop a style, to be attractive to myself and others, to be involved more in the outside world and be one of those people that does things. I’m thinking you may also have a mental list of these aspirations too. Go to college, leave a dead end job, get a nice/nicer house. Oh shoot, those are mine too .. but you get the picture.

I’m seeing results now regarding weight loss and developing a shape I can be proud of. Ok, I’m not really REALLY proud yet and I see that road can be a long one. What can I say, one day I won’t just be nice looking from the neck up. I’ll be the whole package. For now knowing that this is even possible is enough to give me hope. Hope that one day I’ll be who I was meant to be in all ways. I’m looking forward to the next time I get to ‘Netflix and sweat’.

What’s Up with loving the Ladies when you’re gay ?

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This is probably somewhat dicey topic with gay men as some of them prefer to have nothing to do with women. Just the thought of what is found under those clothes can run a chill down their backs and make them run in the other direction. This is the impression of what is stuck in my brain regarding the stereo type I grew up with portrayed in the media of gay men. Run fast and run hard in the opposite direction as women approach. Does this stereo type of the gay man still hold any water ?

What about the rest of us that find more of a connection with women than hetero men? Lets say the women at the office or the gym, at church ? I’m not saying that your eyes aren’t wandering while you at the gym but there is an easier connection with women and in my case the connection is easier to make than with straight guys.

With women, whats not to like ? They spend more time than the male population getting ready with makeup, putting some thought into what they wear (all the time), smelling good, looking after their bodies and are willing to open up emotionally or are prepared to have good conversations. Add in the part of their social norms that allow them to publicly wear a tight workout outfit for every day attire. Yoga pants people…. need I say more? Yoga pants !?!?

You know I’m not talking about all women. There are plenty of women out there that do not fall into this category just as plenty of men do not either. I think each of us notices/knows women that do not have any of these characteristics. For those you have my permission to run away from and far from. Ok, a little humor there, but I think you know what I mean. Staying in focus with our topic, I’m still looking into what I call a strong non-sexual attraction to women that I’m trying to explain why this attraction would happen to a gay male.

When you see these attractive women does this cause you to question your sexuality ? Does it make you want to flip your facebook to say interested in men AND women ? In my case it does mess with me on occasion and I don’t think I am the only one … which of course is why I decided to write about this. Those kind of doubts can plant a seed if we’re not careful that can lead our minds astray. Especially if you are just a baby gay and have only recently acknowledged your sexual identity.

Truth be told I’ve learned that Yes, you can be attracted to women without losing yourself and who you are. Lets face it, both genders are capable of being hot. The biggest difference I care about is the one I actually want to see in those yoga pants and the one that I wish to let into my heart.

Fridge Failed. How am I supposed to go on ?

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Nope, I wish I was joking but my fridge had been dead for almost 3 weeks now.  For a family of four this is the equivalent of not having heat in the dead of winter. A real pain in the @ss but some how tolerable. This is not so much a blog entry about a fridge failing as it is about life and dealing with random bad things that happen. While i was on vacation I took along a book … that which the title fails me right now but the main point stuck with me.

I for one can not figure out what the frick life is about. As long as I am not in pain then things are pretty much on autopilot. You know the kind of pain I’m talking about: a tooth ache, having the flu or some other issue like a sprained ankle… throbbing pain that makes you take something (medication?) to stop the discomfort.

Back to this book I read. the main premise is that life is a bucket of sh*t where things constantly go wrong. Your car breaks down, someone you know dies, your job sucks, or your fridge dies for an extra long time 😉 and its pretty much an endless list of stuff going wrong. Granted, we are not talking about it all happening on one day but over time.  But wait ! There books does come with an answer.

I am summing up here, but the book said people that can be happy amongst all of this chaos and things going wrong are those that learn to adapt and and move past these things. Life likes to be unpredictable and guaranteed the bad stuff will happen and it happens to all of us. Just remember those of us that can adapt and move on are those that can spend the most time being happy.

This made sense to me. If you cant let go of things and constantly wait for the next bad thing to happen how could you possibly be happy? It is a simple switch in how you think and my own thinking that the day is completely blown if it doesn’t go perfectly. Happy is still a foreign concept to me but somehow I feel like I turned a corner and promise myself to better take advantage of the time where bad things arent happening. After all, we earned that time.

 

They were the best of times …

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They were the worst of times … or as I like to call the annual family summer vacation. A test of ones metal, personal values and overall ability to cope with your loved ones in a confined space. Actually about 2 tons of metal in the form of a dodge mini van.

When I sat down to write this I hardly had the time to work on it but currently I am back in civilization attempting to recall exactly what happened during vacation. this went fast…very fast. the days were loaded and I drove a lot. then we hit the last week of vacation where we were holed up in a cottage with our in-laws. this is something we have been doing for a fair number of years now.

When you go from super busy to no tv or wifi and daily early morning fishing trips to the lake pier, you have to survive with others in a whole new way. Generally under these conditions I resort to curling up somewhere to read a book or generally just try and stay out of the way of those that are hustling and bustling trying to keep the household afloat and meal preparation time which is basically all the time when you are in a cabin in the middle of the bush.

I’ll be the first to admit under these conditions many of my personality flaws seem to shine through in Technicolor: anxiety, the social separation and or depression like to manifest at these times. Usually these things are kept in check by routine… so things definitely get squirrely when I need to pick the activity to follow up on. Put quite simply I’ll make a lot of bad decisions  like staying back at the cottage while the kin folk (Wife and kids) go to splash around at the beach. This is something I should naturally want to do but my natural childhood programming doesn’t even have this on the schedule.

You see, when I grew up my parents were always busy. Dad would be off doing odd jobs when he wasn’t doing his regular night time job (school custodian). Mom would be settling in after a busy day for some religious TV programming finding ways to not get stuck on earth and left behind during the rapture. Always involved with solo activities. If we did get out, it was to go to the beach with another family on a lazy Sunday. This would happen once or twice a year. I’m not saying I’m the way I am because of them, but it would seem appropriate that I learned how to do things as a family from them.

To catch you up, this kind of living does not fly with my wife. She had the opposite experience growing up. Her dad would take the family out on yearly trips and constantly do activities with the kids. I actually get into a lot of trouble from my wife for making choices today about doing things with everyone else or as a group. She doesn’t get mental illness, anxiety or depression even though she knows I suffer from all of the above. I face the wrath of wifey for my actions; the cold shoulder, avoidance, being yelled at treated poorly in general. I get treated in kind poorly for treating others poorly (even though in most situations I cant see what I’m doing is wrong).

I keep trying. I’m not a bad guy. I’m educated, have a good job and contribute a lot of income to our lifestyle. Its just difficult for me to connect with others in more than a superficial way.

I really dread these ‘free time’ style vacations now and will continue to through the future. I don’t know how to fix myself and I have a high standard to live up to. Medications for your problems can only take you so far. Some of us just spin around looking for ways to be better or to get better. Perhaps cut people some slack when they don’t fit into their expected roles and instead try to help them do so. To everyone out there in the same boat I wish you continued strength and resolve as you continue your fight.

 

 

Are you a little Cray Cray ?

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One thing that I’ve noticed is that maintaining your mental health feels like a larger challenge for the LGBT community. How are your experiences in this department ? I would be curious to know how people feel about this.

I’ve met all kinds of LGBT people and well, quite frankly a fair number out there are full on cray cray when it comes to interacting with the rest of the world. Lets qualify that a little more. Its the people I’ve met through dating sites that leave me prone to giving myself a good head scratch after trying to maintain a relationship/friendship with them.

Where are all of the normal mentally healthy people from our community? To be honest, I’ve found them everywhere else you would find normal well balanced people: Sports activities, special interest groups, church and the list goes on. Decide to develop a special interest and then go forth and check things out !

What if you are one of the people that suffers from anxiety or depression? Do you feel you experience these issues because of your orientation, being out or living in the closet? To some extent I believe living in the closet adds stress to your life which contributes to escalating anxiety and depression if already present. Being out lends itself to all sorts of new challenges, unfortunately I can not speak to that situation having no experience in that department.

Do people that do not seek answers to resolve these problems continue to hurt more than others? It would seem to me that is the case. I attribute this to these problems keeping you away from support systems that let these issues get worse and worse. In the future I’ll be touching on ways to move from being cray cray to being healthier mentally and getting the support you need to becoming a better (at least) happier you.

YouTube Rules, Dating Sites Suck … Sort of …

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It’s no secret that I’m addicted to YouTube. It gives me this fantasy land sugar coated example of the world I wish to be in. Where everyone is accepted for who they are and relationships start playful and innocent. You can expose yourself to the worst of humanity and the best depending on your mood. One YouTube author was speaking about the requirements that all gay people follow in determining if you were gay. One requirement especially being that you have an account on the dating site named Grinder. It was presented as one of the main ways to put sign post up to the rest of the world declaring you are gay.

Check! I did this some time ago and I’ve often fought with myself to keep an active profile there. I’ve closed and reopened my account on there many many times. Now you would think this is a risky activity for someone in the closet, but the truth is that it is not. Who do you think will see you on the site ? Your mother ? Nope thats right, no one that has a straight club membership will be looking around on there for you. If paranoia gets the best of you then you can change the picture people will see when browsing to one less inconspicuous and have some close ups in your pic list. The only side benefit to being discovered on this site is you getting outed which something you are most likely too hesitant to do yourself in real life.

Cast a wide net. There are lots of dating sites that you can visit for casting out your LGBT net. Scruff, Grinder, Plenty of Fish are sites that have useful free features that help you meet people. I’d also like to pass along a word of caution. Sites have reputations! Out of all of the profiles I have posted, I have found grinder also has connotations of easy quick sex. Plenty of fish on the other hand has lots of space for filling in details about yourself and there are people there that I would say are seriously looking for a relationship.

I have only been looking to use these sites to make friends and to be supportive to each other while navigating our newly discovered LGBT world. You need to state your intentions early and often in your profile. The more time both parties spend getting to know each other, the messier the ‘friendship’ break up once you realize you were interested in two different things.

Trolls are every where. There are some people that respond and reply to everyone that is a fresh face on the site. This typically gives the false impression that everyone is so into you. And why shouldn’t they be right ? You’re dang hot and you go to the gym 3 times a week and you eat right. These people fall into the time waster category because no matter how noble they appear time will tell you that you are just being used for ‘easy’ company.

YouTube changed my life for the better and I’d love to make some videos supporting my rants on here but take what you learn there with a grain of salt. I choose to believe what I heard about on YouTube about Grinder being a place to wave around my LGBT sign board to get the attention of other LGBT people and let them know I am out there too. So remember to keep your pants on and practice safe friends 🙂

 

Hate Living in a Box

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Its a truth that some people in the closet are busy trying to figure things out and like myself don’t want to be put in a box with a certain label. Did you live life as a ‘straight’ for the majority of your life ? Have you decided firmly right now you are gay ?

There is so much to figure out when you finally step out of the box of norms in society. One of the best parts is being able to question things in life and decide what is going to make you happy. For some people this comes easy and others need to think about it, mull it over and try experiencing new things for the first time. That first hug, that first kiss and that first relationship.

The point that I’m trying to make is that it can take a large time and emotional  investment to move on from the self questioning phase and to actually got for it. Should someone from outside of yourself be allowed to influence this chosen path you are on right now ? Why do we worry about it? Oddly in the realm of sexuality, people like things to stay the same.

If someone is gay we don’t like to hear that things have changed and they are now exploring a new relationship with the opposite gender. This is what I am referring to when I talk about living in a box. Its that one thing that creates pressure for us to stay in the closet and not step out ie. the judgement of others that makes you declare your sexuality as fact to others. The feeling that if you come out as gay you must be capable to stating it as fact in a court of law with one hand on the bible. If that changes then of course you must have been lying and have questionable character.

No pressure right ? Not only does your heart have newly accepted rules to follow but you also have to be able to maintain a true-ness to your actions that are observed by others that are a part of your life. As I hate living in that box, part of learning to deal with it is grow as this person and build up the confidence to be who you are. Its true too that a time will come where the opinion of others will matter less and less.

As it turns out, we made the box. Boxes hold things inside. Isn’t it time to throw away the box and stop giving it power and be who we want to be ?