I now think in decades. What a downer when that fact hit me like running into a brick wall. It was about the same time the grocery store clerk began calling me “sir” and 50 was quickly approaching. After a period of sulking and grieving my perceived loss of youth, a new awareness emerged . One where my past brings a perspective that is freeing and empowering.
Growing up in a small North Carolina town I didn’t have the words, role models or concepts to understand who I was. The internal struggle of knowing there was a difference but without an understanding created internal havoc. Grappling with this internal tension through childhood and teenage years coupled with a fundamentalist religious environment brought internal pain, social and personal repression. I grew into adulthood feeling stymied, not living, but getting through life.
After a long journey and finally embracing my identity as a gay man in my thirties, it was shocking to learn how heavy a burden I carried and how much of life i was missing. With that weight removed, I was able to gain internal peace, and experience greater happiness and love by living freely and fully.
That new realization empowered me with a determination to embrace life and to make up for lost time.
As my birthdays come faster and the double digits climb, I have made a choice to continue this journey of living life fully with an even greater intensity. My appetite for loving life continues to grow. My energies are focused on those things that bring positive vibes or serve a greater good. I am thankful to have a partner, Keith, who celebrates my desire to make up for years past even if it means playfully trying a new experience or considering a crazy idea. He encourages me to follow my dreams and to dream bigger.
Part of my embracing life is giving back by motivating others to full living. In addition to local community involvement and promoting inclusion in all facets, I encourage others to honor their spiritual side. I seek to provide an alternate voice to the subculture that has been promoted as Christianity. The negative perception of the Christian faith in our GLBT community has been rightfully earned by those that hijack its tradition with right wing politics and fear based teaching that has crowded out the actual teachings of Jesus. My hope is to help others realize, within their own faith tradition, that embracing spirituality or being part of a community of faith are not mutually exclusive.
Life is short. I will intentionally embrace, sample and savor new experiences and confidently walk through open doors. I see life as an hourglass placed on a table that I cannot turn over. Each of those grains of sand are precious and I am determined to honor each one.