Archive for September, 2013


This weeks English class blog question caused me to pause for a minute.  What event did change me?  The simple answer, all of them, and none of them.  Let me explain.  This summer I focused heavily on myself, my problems, and my past.  Not in an egotistical way, but one that would help better me as a person.  During that time time I started to go back and track growth throughout my life.  It showed me how much I had already changed, areas I should revert back to, and areas where I was wrong both then and now, and still needed evaluating.  Even though all of them helped shape me into who I am, no single event defines who I am.

For my response to the blog question though, I would have to answer; The event that defines who I am, would have to be coming out as a gay man.  Now above I said no single event defines me, and coming out was no single event either.  I had several coming outs, which used to be the norm, but now-a-days kids are coming out younger and more to everyone at the same time, rather than in waves like I did.  The process of me coming out was around a two year period.

Everyone always wants to know, did I always know I was gay?  The answer, yes.  Or, as aware of my sexuality as any young child is.  I remember being 5 to 8 years old, my aunt bought me a human physiology CD Rom.  You could see all the different parts and systems of the body.  Bones, nervous system, the veins, as well as being able to see the man (or woman) completely nude.  It was an educational disk, and I learned a lot about bones which I always found cool.  But I also liked to look at “Adam,” as the male version was called.  Adam usually had a fig leave covering his privates, but with the click of a button you could remove that.  Not knowing about sex or even sexuality at the time, I didn’t know why I liked Adam and not Eve, but that was just how it was.

Fast forward to my early teens and I had confusing feelings.  All the guys around me suddenly became interested in females, when just the summer before we thought they were gross.  I was confused further when I became more interested in my guy friends, than I did about the girls they were talking about.  I always kept it hidden, it was my dirty secret, no one could know, and no one did know, not for a long time.  When I was 17 I confessed to my parents that I was “struggling” with homosexuality, and I wanted help.

Anytime you suppress a part of who you are, a defining characteristic, you run into problems.  Stress, depression, anger, bitterness, and the list could go on.  With more years of “struggling” with my sexuality, of seeking help from professionals and other gay men that had “left homosexuality,” years and years of prayers and tears, I still was unable to change.

I spent my first two years at a pretty famous Christian college, and sought help, prayer, and the bible for answers.  But while I watched prostitutes, drug deals, and woman abusers all seemingly grow and change, the one “sin” that was never able to be helped was that of one man loving another.  I stuck with the college though, confessing to more and more people I was “gay, but working on it,” and went on to apply and be accepted within the school for missions work in Brazil.  That fall I had five online courses, a full time job, I was working on support fundraisers and news letters, and I was busy going around to other churches and groups of people to raise awareness and support.

In February of 2011, a month before I was due to go to Brazil, the school called up and dismissed me.  They wouldn’t give a straight answer (and still won’t to this day), but I was being “let-go” (as they called it), because of my sexual orientation.  Something that is literally not able to be controlled.

In hindsight I probably could have legally pressed them for that, but at the time I was too hurt to even tell anyone.  That might have been difficult at the time to handle, I see now that it was the catalyst that would start my growth, or probably more aptly, my re-birth.  No, I am not talking any form of mythical Phoenix death and re-birth, but a new start and out look on life.

Fast forward another two years, to the present day, and you have a maturing and proud homosexual man.  One that is not afraid to be different (where I used to hate being different), one that is not afraid to be true to me (even when others don’t accept me), one that realizes being gay isn’t a choice, and ISN’T a sin.  In other words, a brand new man.

It may not have been a single event, or even a short period of time, but coming out has defined who I am today, and it has taken years, more than a decade honestly, to be able to say this, but I am proud to have been born gay. 

My favorite place…

This week for my Professional Writing class I am to blog about my favorite place, and why it is my favorite.  That’s complicated in a couple ways. 1) I have many favorite places, from the camp I grew up going to on Belgrade lake every summer, to missions work in the Amazon in Brazil, and even down South in the Smoky Mountains, where I spent the summer working as a white water rafting guide.  I love them all. 2) My computer just this past week fried and took ALL of my data with it.  Thousands of pictures, over 12,000 words on a novel I was working on, an countless other docs.

When I went to answer this blog, I thought, “easy, I can do this.”  And maybe it would have been, only I lost all of my Brazil photos (except for an unimportant few on Facebook), and was discouraged from writing when I realized this.  I decided to go with Belem, Para, Brazil (Near the basin to the Amazon River), but had few good photos to choose from.  But one decent one I could find was me climbing a palm tree.  At least, that was the goal, till my friend and I were bitten a hundred times or more by red ants.

Image

My friend was even courteous enough to talk the picture at an angle were it made it look like I did any climbing at all.

Even though I had great times on Belgrade Lake, and in the Smoky Mountains, Brazil has always been my dream.  When I went to Belem for ten days in May 2010, I fell in love, a piece of me stayed there.  I fell in love with the heat, and the rain (it cooled you down, but dried up quickly), the jungles and the wildlife, and mostly the people and the language were beautiful, and it gave me a greater appreciation for what I have.

I have not been able to make it back to Brazil since then (although I promised someone that lived in the Amazon Jungle I would be back), but I will one day, and it will be great when I do!

 

Tennessee Summer Summery

Image

“Fun Run” Trip with fellow guides.

This summer I had intended to post more, however, that was before I realized the demand of work, the time spent with friends, and all the writing that I was doing (outside of blogs).  Whatever I thought this summer was going to be like, it was not, it was much, much, more!

Life in the South was something that I had never known before, sure, everyone hears different things about “down yonder”, but hearing about it, and actually knowing are two different things.  If you know anything about me, you will know that hearing about something is not going to be enough for me, I have to know myself.

That doesn’t mean that I didn’t go into this summer with some presuppositions, wrong presuppositions, but premeditated judgement nonetheless.  I assumed that everyone listened to country music, that people were more concerned with their farms than they were with relationships, people would be less educated in the country than in the cities, and that everyone was conservative when it came to religious and social beliefs.

Although some of those presuppositions proved to be more true than up here in the North (people in general are more conservative down South), people down below were more understanding and accepting than I had experienced before.  Being an openly gay man, I was not going to go back in the closet as I headed to my summer destination, and try to hide my sexual identity down there.  I was afraid though, that when people figured out I was gay, that I would be lynched, or some equally terrible, violent act, and would be leaving within the first two weeks.  After all, I would have given it a shot, no one could have told me I didn’t at least try.

Instead?  I met some of the coolest, nicest, most self-educated people of my life.  I grew in ways that I am sure I won’t realize for years to come.  Instead of listening to country music (which I ironically discovered I liked), I got to listen to new music (Daft Punks new album, Pretty Lights new album, White Panda, STS9) .  I didn’t find people more concerned with their farms, quite the opposite actually, this summer I had to try and find time to spend alone.  We were all such a social outgoing group, that none of us wanted to miss out on any of the fun, spending all our time together.  Education turned out not to be a problem, most of my friends were in college, had been, or were already graduated.  For the ones that hadn’t gone to school, were self read, and could keep intellectual debates going all night, as we often  did.

The summer was a remarkable time, I expected the worst, and was quite honestly given the best.  Moral of the story?  Discover for yourself, don’t judge a book by its cover.

Dream.Search.Discover.

This post comes in the middle of me writing about my summer, but don’t worry, I will catch ya’ll 🙂 up on my summer following this post.

For now my English class that I am taking as prerequisites for the Masters program I want to get into at the University of Maine,  has asked that I answer this questions on my blog; As a writer, I will consider myself successful when

For me, writing has been a life long passion, a means of therapy, and a way to express myself and my wacky life.  Writing has never been about success or failure, it was just a great hobby.  In the past few years I have really started considering writing as a way of life.  I have started taking writing more seriously, but have continued to put my dream of becoming a published writer, on the back burner, for classes I thought were better or would be more beneficial.

Having graduated last year, I have put furthering my education at all on the back burner, instead spending sometime traveling and seeing other places and cultures (Ohio, Macedonia, Tennessee) as top priority.  This fall I have decided to re-attend school, and get closer to my ultimate goal of becoming a published writer.

To sum up, I would say I would consider myself a “successful” writer when I am able to publish my writing, and show everyone the different and diverse worlds that I have imagined up.  Getting money for this would  only be a bonus, not the goal.  I have a creative mind, and I want to show people all about it.

 

I am moving back home to Maine this coming week, I promise to post more about the last half of my summer soon!