Today, (June 29th) I’m turning 48… Events in my life, (especially, most-recently), have made me look at where I’m at in life and I’m not impressed with what I see, or – with who I am; but – I’m too stubborn to give up, so I’m taking my life back. All of my life, it seems, I’ve had a black cloud following me around, everywhere I go, putting a damper on everything I do. I try to do what everyone expects, I try to do the right thing, I try to be a good person and help out others when I can; but, no matter what I do, I’m always beaten back, turning people away and constantly restarting my life; becoming even harder, each time.
Today, I’m beginning, yet – again. This time, though, it’s going to be on MY terms, and some of you may turn away after you’re finished reading this. That’s too bad – for you… I’ve lived this miserable existence for you, until now, and – I’m done. If you’re too mentally-stunted, or God-smacked, within your own life to understand what I’m doing here, today, then I don’t need you, anyway. And…before you start railing about how God is going to forsake me, and – cast me into the fires of hell for all eternity, well…I’ll see you when you get there… I’ll be the one in the charred Star Trek T-shirt and awesome, (equally-crisped) genuine-leather Australian hat, eating the well-done bacon double-cheeseburger. See, it was my faith in God (and a lot of prayer), that led me to this crossroads, today. (I was baptized into the Roman Catholic Church at Easter Sunday Mass in 2001.) This is my testimony, as it were; my worldwide confession. Now, if God was going to roast me over the spit, like a pig at a Texas GOP Tea Party hoedown, He wouldn’t have made my path, here, so obvious or, better yet, He wouldn’t have made me who I am, to begin with. So, I go forward knowing, that I do so with His blessings. I know a little, firsthand, about His divine power, and – let’s just say, I trust my gut, on this decision, too. I’ve been the recipient of His miracles, as well as His humbling sense of humor, quite a number of times in my life, and I’ve drug my cross a-many-a-mile. I’ve taken my lumps, but this will be the first time I’ve heeded His lessons… I think you’ve all got it wrong; He just wants us to be TRUE to ourselves!
First-off, it’s honesty and clarity that are going to rule my day; carrying me forward, for however many days I have left remaining to me. My lack of honesty, thus-far, (within myself), has obstructed me at every turn, keeping me from reaching other shores, and it’s time to turn the tide. I’m already-considered (by many) to be an asshole, so what have I got to lose; I’ve tried it your way, and it hasn’t brought me a lot of success. Indeed, I’ve had a lot of despair, and a ton of resentment. I’m tired of being bogged-down by regret and what-ifs, second-guessing every single decision I make. Enough! In this case, the needs of the one, outweigh the needs of the many…
Number 1: I’m gay. Yup, been this way, ever since I can remember; (Hell, I’d go as-far-back, as the first-time I watched The Six Million Dollar Man… Sorry, if I’ve ruined something for you, saying that; you’ll live.) No, I didn’t choose to be this way; I, foolishly, chose to be something I’m not. How ironic… Yes, I’ve been married, had children, ‘lived the lie,’ and – yes, I’ve ‘hid in the closet,’ for all of these years. Why..? Because, that’s what was expected of me. But, I loved my wife (it was, actually, ‘love at first sight’), I adore my kids (especially, the one I lost, last year, through folly of my stupid choices; and – God knows, I love Erica! Erica is only one, [of a handful] whom – I have confided-in); I wouldn’t ever change these life experiences, for anything! If it wasn’t for the expectations placed on my life, by my family and friends, I might’ve gone an entirely different path and I’d’ve missed out on these blessings in my life… No, I’m not going to start dressing in women’s clothes or posting pictures of barely-clothed men on my social-media pages (sorry, that’s not me), or – become a bad influence on your kids; but, most importantly, I’m not going to change how I treat you. I like my masculinity just the way it is, thank you, but – I’m not going to cater to your expectations/limitations, any-longer, either. Some of you have ridiculed me, or, nastily teased me about my sexuality, for years, so this comes as no surprise, to you, then… It’s just, now – I won’t deny it. I am what I am… Yes, I’ll probably still be an asshole; but I’ll be a happier one.
Secondly, I don’t want anyone to misconstrue my coming out as a political change in my beliefs: I do not believe gays and lesbians should ‘marry’ in the ‘traditional’ sense of the word. I still believe in the sanctity of marriage, between a man and a woman; always have, always will. However, I DO believe gays and lesbians should be afforded the SAME rights and benefits, as any married couple. Don’t get me wrong, if you want to have a ceremony and proclaim your love for each other, I’m all for it; hell, invite me to your nuptials and I’ll party-it-up, with you! (Just go easy on the tequila… I tend to dance on tables, and shed clothing… Ahem…) That said, I just don’t think you should be married in the eyes of the law. That’s just me. A civil union would meet the same criteria, as a marriage license, to me.
Finally, all my life, from-school, to-present, I have been bullied, beaten-down, held back and, otherwise humiliated and shamed, by others (and, even-sometimes, from my own actions), because I haven’t taken a stand and lived MY life the way I should have. I’ve led a life of denial and I’ve made choices based on other people’s beliefs. I’ve lied, cheated, stolen, I’ve been a racist (back in the South) and treated others with disrespect, I’ve bowed to peer pressure and committed stupid acts; and – dammit, this is NOT who I am. I’ve not lived an easy life, or – a righteous one; but…sometimes you do what you gotta do, to survive. I’m glad to say, that I’ve put my hatred and intolerance for others (in my youth) behind me, and – I have a diverse group of friends (some of which, I’m proud to call family; my brothers and sisters.) Life is too short for our ridiculous attitudes towards people of color, sexuality, religious affiliation, etc; we all live, die, and get the same hole in the ground at the end of this life. We all bleed the same color… What I’m trying to say is, I’m not perfect; I’m no saint and I have skeletons rattling their bones in my closet. But, this, today – is my way of facing them and forging-ahead. Yes, I’ve come a lonnnnng way, but, God willing, I’ll continue to grow. If you’re reading this, then – I’ve hit the ‘publish’ tab and have taken a huge leap in my personal-growth.
I’m a geek, I AM a nerd, and – I’m proud of that! I love to read Star Trek books and watch the episodes/movies. Did you know, I’m even a character-namesake in a Star Trek NYT Best Seller: ‘Peaceable Kingdoms’ by Dayton Ward? I love Star Wars and Batman. I love comic books. I love a damn-good crime novel, or the suspense of John Grisham; (last year, I was part of Grisham’s FB cover-photo and seen by over a million-and-a-half of his fans). I’m friends with dozens of writers, editors, publishers, authors, comic-book artists and creators, and a few celebrities, too. I love to write and I’m trying very-hard to make that dream a reality, at VisionaryTrek.com, Free Comic Book Day and other places. I love going to Salt Lake Comic Con (I’m a member of the press corps) and meeting new people; and I love sharing their experiences with everyone. I love football (Goooooo Gators!), NASCAR (the Interstate is my personal track…), baseball, the summer AND winter Olympic Games, going camping, sitting by the river and reading a good book, going on long rides through the mountains, and cooking good food. I love being a hermit, as well; but some of that comes from the life I led, yesterday, (and from letting people shit on me). Nothing would make me happier, than to find someone who enjoys reading, writing, walks, campfires, talking politics and philosophy and, giving-up my lonely days, to fulfill my dreams with someone who shares those simple pleasures. We all want happiness, right… But, I’m ok to be in my own company, too; now – I hope to enjoy it, instead of always-cowering in those dark shadows and brooding about how I could have done it differently.
What it all boils down to is, I’m going to live for me, not you. You’ve taken the first 48 years from me; now, I’m taking the next 48, and – we’ll see how that works out. But, at least, it’ll be on MY terms…eh? For those of you who still call me family, or – friend, after reading this, well…Thank you, for your love and support; (I’m going to need a shitload of it in the coming-days, I’m sure). This wasn’t an easy decision to make, but, by God, (and, through God), it’s mine to make. Free will, remember? You sin your way, I’ll sin mine; but – we ALL sin. Yeah…you better look in that glass…
Mom… Do not be ashamed; be proud. I’m becoming a man, at 48. This isn’t meant to hurt you, as much as, liberate me. Well, it’s done, come what may… I love you! I’d like to thank my cousin Michael, who showed tremendous courage, last year; and who gave me the courage and push (unbeknownst to him) to take this new direction in my life. I should have done this 30 years ago, cuz. And, I thank Michael Jackson, who – through his music, made me face ‘the man in the mirror.’ Finally, I want to ‘thank’ Joe… “I’m not as ‘close-minded,’ as you would believe me to be. In fact, it was you, who opened my eyes.”
That’s all…except, Happy Birthday, to me! Carry on. Let the unfriending and gossip begin. This is me; you live with you…