Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Positive After Thought...

It started with a friend of mine saying he was ‘over gay men’, his search to reclaim an identity over his life had even thrown up the possibility of having sex with a woman as a result. Whatever reason behind this; out of curiosity, partly confusion, a desire for change or to gain control over his life, I felt perhaps my friend had considered his gay life had now become tiresome and perhaps irrelevant to him. It would be a natural assumption to question his sexuality or motives, which I did initially, but I found it stirred more intimate questions about my own life and needs.

I have spent my life trying to a fit into a group of people who never seem to give me what I really want - love and happiness. Gay life is perceived as a very competitive, materialistic and superficial world that is very unforgiving to many and for some like myself, we have come out of it bruised and disillusioned by what it promises to offer. I know I am not alone when I say my sexuality is only relevant to me and to nobody else, therefore the supposed way of life I must commit to is in fact no longer relevant to me. I ask only for a loving committed relationship with a man. No more, no less. I do not ask for conformity, expectations and the rules that come with my sexual preference. I am happy to be me and I ask for nothing more. If finding one person who could love and support me in equal measure, came with the condition I had to retreat from gay culture and all the trappings that came with it, I would happily say goodbye to it all right now. Without doubt or any regret. It’s never been a part of me. On occasion I perhaps fall into particular stereotypical behaviour but this is unintentional and most likely unavoidable. Those characteristics have never defined me. I don’t want to fight against them anymore either just so I can feel validated by either the straight or the gay world. What do those terms even mean? It is one world and we are all so very unique. I have no reason to fight to be accepted by my gay peers anymore, it is thankless task which makes no one, especially me, happy. I become the only one with an internal struggle. They have a life I do not want. I do not want to struggle with demons anymore. I am proud and happy to be who I am. Would my life be easier and happier if I was born straight, who knows? What matters is my identity is my own and I don’t have to justify it to anyone. If others disapprove or disagree, I no longer care what they think. I've done too much worrying about what others think. I love my individuality and it’s time to embrace it properly and claim it as my own.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Poof, Breeder or Confused?

As a gay man, people tend to ask you questions about sexuality. What's that all about I here you say? I know, peculiar isn't it?

I had a conversation with my new friend Annie and her husband Mike on Sunday. It always fascinates me what people ask, what they understand and how they perceive the subject. Most of the time, probably due to the company I keep, it's insightful, grounded and thought provoking. Occasionally you find someone who can't see beyond the 'Mr Humphries' stereotype, but they're quite rare to find nowadays under the age of 45.

I am envious of the younger generation (Jesus, I felt old typing that just now) who are able to come out and be surrounded by culture that embraces and celebrates their sexuality. Of course, it doesn't necessarily make it easier for the individual to come to terms with it but it certainly helps. I do wish I had the support network and the confidence when I decided to open my mouth and say those awfully difficult two words "I'm Gay". My friends were fantastic but there was no one else in my situation I knew well enough to confide in and grow up with, asking those pertinent intimate questions that only we'd have the nerve to ask each other and which perhaps I still want to ask now.

There is a set of presumptions many make about gay men. Beyond the obvious that is. One of which is many assume gay men are sexually confident as we are open to what we prefer in the bedroom, that gay men are the most open minded of people after experiencing first-hand prejudice, and that we happy to go against the grain and not be like the rest of straight society.

The wiser of you know those characteristics can be quite ridiculous, gay people are as different as the minutes in the day (actually scrub that analogy as my life is quite monotonous at the moment but you get my meaning). You'd think this goes without saying but time and time again, I am asked the same questions, people assume certain preconceptions and I am forever having to say 'Well I'm different. I'm me" and the debate or discussion commences. It always fascinates me.

Our discussion on Sunday raised a far more important issue, one of Identity and Conformity. Human nature requires labels to categorize and create a sense of order, so society can feel comfortable. If we do not fit a certain box, we try another, then another, until they fit. If one cannot be found, these unique few are considered an outsider or worse still, a freak.

I've "fought against the system" myself. (like Michelle Pfeiffer would do in Dangerous Minds but without the irritating mainstream rap music). I try not to define myself with certain characteristics and beliefs. It gives you freedom and independence but there is a price to pay. You don't fit in. Anywhere it seems. Fine for a natural hermit but for a socially dependent person like myself it doesn't make life easy. I like to play with the preconceptions about me, sometimes live up to them, other times do quite the opposite. I am exactly what you think I am maybe on face value but if you dig deeper, know me a little better, that mould slips away to reveal something quite different for those lucky few I call my close friends.

Or am I in fact yet another stereotype in the making, who knows?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Even Cliche Can Force You To Do Something Real...

I've spent the last 48 hours speaking to a variety of people. Family. Old friends. New friends. People who have known me all my life, some for years, some only for a few months. I've listened to many voices, all of which have been such huge source of comfort and wisdom to me. It's woken me up a bit. Like I've been shaken like a flimsy Victorian Doll and now I have some perspective back into my life. The 'tough love' as those annoying therapists call it, has forced me to face up to the reality of my situation.

It's taken me to be emotionally stripped down and to be on my own in a strange country to realise what is important to me. Despite my current hardships, I am learning what is missing in my life and that this is bigger than the usual daily grind and the obstacles life throws at us. It's bigger than not having a job, or having someone to share my life with, or not having friends in a new country. It's not even about moving to a new place. It's about what makes me happy and to perhaps as the cliche goes, "Learn to love myself" and "find a new direction". It's a good thing that this is happening to me, despite the fact I feel as though I'm going through a human grinder. It will take time. It certainly won't happen over night but I need to keep faith and remain true to myself so I can "be that change".

A part of me winces hugely like a five year old taking some hideous cough medicine as I consider using these prosaic self-help lines to justify my life decisions, but there is no other way to describe it and I have to admit, there maybe a lot of common sense in them. I can see Paul Coehlo or Deepak Chopra now (see picture above), arms folded, smarmy smile directed right at me, jabbing his stubby looking finger at me, whilst saying "See I told you. And you dared to mock my book".

I don't mean to be grandiose or cringe worthy. I just want things to go in positive and different direction. And don't worry, I'm aware this blog needs more anecdotal entries again to ensure it's more entertaining rather than deep and analytical. I promise to update it with some fun entries as soon as possible!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

At the bottom of the U...

I don't want to alarm you all with another seemingly negative and quite possibly depressing blog entry but I am having to write about the last month of my life, which can only be described as one of the hardest periods of my life in a very long time. Hence the lack of entries on my blog.

The dangerous concoction of unemployment, limited cash flow, no immediate friends, love life frustrations and a career and life dilemma has resulted in a very dark period for me. Yes, folks I'm going through a swell time at the moment. The initial "I'm going to live in Australia" decision is now very real. The life changing action of moving one's life abroad has reared it's real and very ugly head. Warts and all. Incredibly unforgiving and unglamorous too. The positive to this, is that the only way is up hopefully, plus the stress has made me loose quite a bit of weight and with the combination of a tan I look great! Although, if it gets any worse I may have knock on door of that omnipresent deity that claims to run my life and ask for my money back.

'Stir crazy' are the words to describe the time I have to myself whilst looking for a new job and I have way too much time to think. Not good for someone like me who has an internal 'Woody Allen' inside of him. I am hoping this week will change everything and that I will secure the job I've set my sights on for the last month. I'm sending those positive vibes out into the universe and claiming it as my own. I know I would do a good job in that role and I could really grow into the role. Watch this space as they say.

My new found friendships have also been affected by this lull and my relationships with those I care about deeply have also unfortunately been victims to this. As well as this being thoroughly distressing, I find myself regressing and unable to grasp the bigger picture and losing my confidence completely in situations that would have never bothered me years ago.

So as I brush the crap off myself now and face the world straight on, I can only have faith that the next step goes up! Watch this space...