Friday, July 16, 2010

Happiness is for the BRAVE!!!

I unfortunately have not written of late, in fact I have actually had my blog locked, not because I did not want to write, on the contrary I love the emotional release that my blog has provided me. My blog had become popular reading within the city that I live and for fear of having my intimate thoughts exposed I chose to lock it down. It is ironic that with my "coming out" to the entire community as an openly gay man, I chose to hide my blog from the world. I am in no way embarrassed of my my journey, but I have always written openly and honestly and as much as I loved sharing my thoughts and life path with the world, I needed to protect not exposing my "wife", who I often write about.

The last few months have been an eventful time for me, I have endured allot as I find myself navigating through the new world and life that I now find in front of me. The desire to live my truth for me was so powerful that once I found myself on the path of honesty it was only a matter of time before I got to the point where I find myself now, liberated, free and the master of my own destiny. The relief on my face is noticeable to all those around me and I am truly blessed to have the full support of my "wife", family and friends. The community that I thought would judge me, has accepted me with open arms and if anything I have been labeled by my bravery and not my sexuality, something that I hoped would happen, but never expected.

This has not all been easy for me, the choice to live my truth was not for me alone, the guilt associated with not being able to give a women that I love so dearly everything that she deserves from a husband was as much as a motivation for me as my desire to live my own life openly. Like she once said to me, "to be desired is not a luxury, but rather a necessity." She has now met a man, (who I like very much for her), but watching how he is able to give her everything that I wish I could is by no means easy. Ultimately her happiness means more to me than the pain I get from seeing her moving on, but not away. I don't think anyone wishes to be gay (I certainly didn't), it is more a journey of accepting the ultimate truth that one simply is. For me this acceptance has been conflicted at times, I have even resented being gay, maybe even self torturing to a degree, but with the more time that seems to pass the easier this acceptance seems to become for me.

I often find myself waking up in the morning, and for a few moments before opening my eyes I pray that this all is just a dream, only to reach across for my "wife" who is not there. I still feel for the missing wedding band on my finger as I mourn everything that I have had to leave behind, but not lose. What is gained though is a liberation that I am sure all that have taken the journey can understand all to well. I like the person I see in the mirror and I relish in the bask of unconditional love that I have experienced as I find myself being accepted for the person I truly am and I feel a sense of pride for my courage. I am not saying my choice suits everyone, it is a scale, a balancing act, as long as what is weighing down the other end is not fear alone. Fear of losing ones family is purely that, a fear, it does not have to be a reality if you don't let it be.

My kids are thriving as they comment how happy they think we look, they seem stable and secure under the protection that we have maintained for them through the turmoil. If anything, we are ensuring that this journey is in fact a legacy for them to realize that the love we have for them will always be unconditional, showing them not to judge others or even more importantly not to fear the judgement of others. The process of explaining this all to them is something that will be done delicately and slowly, however ensuring that they are armed for both the positive and negative that they might encounter in a world that is already not easy. We are raising our children by the adage that it takes a village to raise a child, with the entire family playing significant roles in their lives as we all rally together, united and strong.

Every night that my kids go to bed I can't help but enjoy the fact that I know where they are, wrapped up safe. This will not last for long as they too will need to embark on the journey of exploring the world and themselves. I now feel like that teenager who is exposed to the wider world as I travel the path of discovery. Although I know that what I eventually want is that feeling that one gets when meeting someone who able to stirs one with passion, trust and love. I also know that I need some time to not only mend, but to develop a relationship with myself first. Most of my path of late has seemed to be about putting myself in situations that I ordinarily would never have thought possible, I seem to be figuring out what it is I don't want as I travel along a road of making mistakes, but all the while ensuring that I remain true to myself, those around me and maintaining my self worth. There is no specific door into the gay world and so I find myself fumbling around trying to find a place that I am comfortable with.

The decision to live my truth as a gay man was not an easy decision, yes it has been painful, yes I have been conflicted and yes I miss what I have had to leave behind, but not once have I regretted my decision, because if I have learnt anything it is quiet simply that it would have been impossible to live my life happily under a cloud of dishonesty and repression. I might open my eyes in the morning to a new reality, my finger might be lighter without my wedding band, but my life is fuller knowing that I have not lost anyone I love, if anything I have been able to grow those relationships as I step out from the shadows and into the light. My motto that I am living by is: "happiness is for the brave."

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Only Human...

My Mother had a very hard up bringing, she was rejected by her parents as she was never a priority in their lives leaving her to fend for herself. The result of this was deep seeded anger and resentment towards them. Her mother is still alive, however due to my mothers anger I too have adopted these emotions towards my Grandmother resulting in me having had a very limited relationship with her, I have probably only seen her a handful of times during my life. I believe that every person's obstacle in life is overcoming their childhoods, some however more so than others.

One of the "side effects" of my Mothers upbringing was that she developed a desire to create a safe "bubble" within which she could live. In her childhood she gained a sense of security in maintaining as much in order as possible often winning many a neatness award in the orphanage that she lived in, this desire was inherited by both my brother and I. I too love having some measure of control of my surroundings, I love neatness and I loved the sense of safety that I felt within in my home. I have spent most of my life trying to find protection from the larger world with an overwhelming desire just to feel safe. In order to conquer my demons and to reclaim my life I have had to step out of my "bubble" and into a world where I no longer have that same control or sense of safety. I often find myself driving and unconsciously will head towards my house (although it is not my house anymore), or will find myself feeling for the missing wedding band on my finger until I realize that my reality is now different as I steer away from my home that I knew and back to my new life.

I no longer have the stability that my home life gave me, now leading a pretty nomadic life in places that I do not have my own things around me, but these things are purely materialistic and letting go of them adds to the huge sense of freedom and liberation that I am experiencing. Beside leaving my comfort of my home I too have left the sanctity of my marriage and the protection that gave me both emotionally and physically. I am now exposed to a buffet of sexual diseases and after being removed from the greater world for so many years I have developed a huge fear and phobia towards STDs and in particular the biggie being HIV. I have a nature in which I like information and so I have ensured that I have quickly not only studied up on the risk, danger and what precautions to take but also what the result would be of contracting any one of the numerous transmissible diseases and the life altering effect that these have on people.

Today I see that HIV has changed in some measure form being a death sentence to being a disease that people are now able to live with. I see too that HIV positive partners not only are able to lead manageable and normal lives, but that they are even able to maintain healthy relationships with HIV negative partners. People are all just trying to live as happily as they can, often we need to appreciate another's limitations in life and see them merely as human despite not only their sexual orientation and emotional demons, but also their health and in this instance HIV status. It is easier said than done and the failure to see past these obstacles is not necessarily that persons fault, it is just a matter of their own limitations in life, I am learning to respect that and I am sure that when it comes to my sexual orientation not all of my friends will be able to be accepting or supportive of my decisions. In such a situation I need to not wear their discrimination as limiting or degrading of my life choices, but rather appreciate the fact that just like I who has fears, so do they and although and not everyone is able to overcome these.

If my journey has taught me anything it is to be more understanding of others, I have learnt to unlock my anger and I guess for me this is where my true liberation lies. My grandmother is dying and there is a limited time left in order to try and allow my Mother to find peace. In the next few days I want to fly with my Mother to go and see my Grandmother in a last ditch effort for not only my Mom, but for me as well to find some solace with a women that that despite feeling like a stranger to me is still the person who bought my Mother into this world. I want us to see her not with the hope that my Mom will find it in her to to forgive or to forget, or that My Gran should ask for forgiveness or apologize, but rather that my Mom will find the strength to see women riddled with her own demons and life limitations, but most of all that she will see that she is just human. We all make mistakes, some are bigger than others, some are unforgivable, but ultimately the choice lies within ourselves whether or not we can release our own anger, because at the end of the day life is fragile, risky and short at best of times and in that we all just try to do the best that we can.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Gay means happy!

Someone commented to me this past weekend that they did not like the heading of my blog. To them it seemed almost anti-gay, maybe even homophobic. The reality of it though is quite simply that when I started out on this journey, I was overwhelmed with guilt, resentment and most definitely fear for the feelings that I was having. The first time that I moved out of home the guy that I was dating asked me if I was happy, the question struck me because in all honesty I was not happy. Yes I had found a measure of freedom and yes I was in a relationship that I enjoyed, but I did it without being honest to those that mattered to me and therefore I was never able to find the peace that I so hungered for. I lived with fear of being found out and exposed and the consequences that would come with that. This is a fear that I have now been able to conquer giving me true freedom to live my life.

The fact that my heading was referred to as homophobic made me think, because I realize that I have lived most of my life with a certain measure of homophobia. Don't misunderstand me I have always been extremely liberal, open minded and one that has always been happy for people to have freedom of choice as to how they want to live their lives, but I now see how my own fear of my emotions manifested itself in a small measure of homophobia. I am understanding how in life a large part of prejudice does not stem from hatred, but rather from peoples own underlying fears and maybe even jealousy. The height of jealousy is when someone does not want what you have, but that they simply don't want you to have it, I wanted it. I was always jealous of the bravery of the gay world, I just felt so trapped within my life that I never thought it possible for myself. So I repressed my sexuality with the result being myself becoming consumed with anger as I battled my internal conflict between what I thought I needed to be happy as opposed to what I really wanted in order to be happy.

My brother the other day said to me, that despite how turbulent my life is at the moment he has never known me to be happier. I have had to pay a huge price in order to pursue this life, I have left my home, a wonderful wife and life as I knew it. I often asked myself for what? I have the answer to that question now, for me this was not a decision that would allow me to merely sexualize with men, this was bigger than that, it was me finding my own worth, a desire to live my life with honesty and being able to be true to myself and to those that I love and care for. Since taking this journey I am noticeably less angry and aggressive, I am calmer with a degree of stillness and yes under the turmoil and pain, I am happy.

The name of my blog certainly does not reflect the fact that being gay can't mean being happy, or a tone of homophobia, but rather how here is a guy that conquered his own inner demons allowing me to unlock my prejudice. I admit that my prejudice was never founded on the judgement of others, but rather on my own shortcomings, untruths and lack of courage. My heading was never meant to diminish the happiness within the gay world, it merely represented my own struggle and battle with my emotions. Yes being gay is not easy, but in that lies the true reward of the sacrifices, obstacles conquered and the pain that I am feeling, because now I get to live my life with inner truth and freedom. I am now at a point where i realize that being gay does mean being happy!

“The secret of happiness is freedom. The secret of freedom is courage.”

Monday, April 12, 2010

It's called Faith...

Last Tuesday night was my last night that I slept in my house with my family. After putting our kids to bed, kisses, cuddles and absorbing how different life will be for all of us going forward, I went back to quietly sit in my study. My wife came in and the two of us just hugged each other, slowly dancing to the song that was playing in the background. I could feel and hear her sobs on my shoulder as I tried as hard as I could to remain strong. She felt so small in my arms, so gentle and fragile, there was something magnificently beautiful in that very moment. The connection that my wife and I share is so powerful, we have a deep soulful bond in which we know each other so well, she will always be one of the greatest loves of my life. As we were dancing, I looked up to glimpse my daughter standing there watching us, she had this beautiful little smile on her innocent face, I picked her up and carried her back to her bed and tucked her in again, she looked at me and said "it looks like You and Mom really should be married."

My journey has been one of conflict and vacillation as I turmoiled to accept my sexuality. The battle has been finding where it is that I felt I belonged and the steps that I would need to take to get there. Now that I have not only decided, but also taken the necessary choices to enable me the freedom to pursue my life, my journey has now become about actually living and building a life of my construct. Whilst there is a tremendous sense of freedom and liberation that I am currently feeling as I peer onto a blank canvass on which I have to create, there is a also sense of trepidation. I often feel like I need to pinch myself in disbelief at how drastic a change my life has taken. There is the fear and worry of whether or not I have made the right decision, but I do not spend much time looking back as I know for me the only option now is to keep on moving forward.

Yesterday I was with my kids and my son asked me a question, "If God created everything, then who created God?" As profound a question as it was, coming out of his little mouth with an absolute simplicity caught me a little off guard. It made me realize that in life there are some things we just don't have the answers for, yet we believe, trust and in this case even devote ourselves to certain things with nothing more than faith. It is faith in the fact that this is a path that I needed to travel, that this was a dimension of myself that needed to be not only explored, but that I felt for me was one that I needed to live. For the first time I am able to look in the mirror with a sense of knowing of who it is I am, whilst I might not know exactly what it is I want out of my new life, I do know that I am no longer consumed with anger, I am living my life honestly and that I am proud of what I have been able to achieve, for the rest only time will tell. Like I try to explain to my children, I can not read the future I can only resolve the now.

There is once again a fascination into my life and that of my marriage, the community are all intrigued as to why it is that my wife and I have chosen to separate. To the outside world, just like for my daughter it has always looked as though my wife and I really should be married, but for us living a life without passion is not fair on her or me and although we have no idea what the future holds for us, we can only remain brave, focused and keep moving forward with little more than sheer faith. Faith that we will find the life full of the happiness, passion and truth that we have hungered for. Someone referred to our separation as a tragedy to which I responded, "this is not a tragedy, this is bravery." Yes it is sad and yes it does pain, but the real tragedy would have been continuing the way we were, because one needs to remind themselves, we only live once!

"Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe."
Saint Augustine

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Archer

Today has been a public holiday and we have used the long weekend just to prepare ourselves for a week in which myself and my family will be embarking on a new journey. In the week ahead I will once again be packing my bags as I prepare to move out, for me this is not just about leaving my home it is about leaving life as I knew it. I have faced many obstacles over the last few months, many of which have pained me in overcoming, I have conquered fears and I have made a decision which I know is right not only for me, but for those I love as well. We will be trying to explain the separation (not sexuality) to our children during the course of the week, it is something that my wife and I are giving allot of thought to ensure that we are unified and ready for what will probably be the hardest hurdle for both of us.

As a parent one wants only the best for their children, when my kids were born I wanted to wrap them in cotton wool, shield them from the world and protect them from pain. It is hard now for me to not feel torment that it is I who will be inflicting pain into their still very young lives. The world is not a perfect place, we face obstacles and challenges throughout our lives, but in knowing that my wife and I are determined not only to ensure the best for our children, but to try and do it whilst maintaining a friendship and mutual respect for each other. I am not running away, I am not even walking away for that matter, so many of my decisions that I have taken over the last few months has always factored my children's well being into account.

There is a poem by Kahlil Gibran that goes as follows:
"Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You give them your love but not your thoughts, for they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness:
For even as He loves the arrow that flies so He loves also the bow that is stable."

I can already see the look my son will give me when we try and tell and reassure the children. It is probably my greatest fear and even as I write this I can feel the pain and weight on my chest. I do know that although this is not an ideal situation for any child, my wife and I have an opportunity here to teach our children the most amazing lesson. I have often written about how it is not the mistakes we make in life, but what we do with those mistakes. The same applies here, it is not the situation that will ultimately scare or mark our children, but rather how we broach it, live it and act going forward, so that rather than leaving a wake of disaster we can leave a legacy that will allow them to not only claim there lives, but to live it fully, happily and truthfully.

Monday, March 29, 2010

I did it my "gay"........

The following is a quote from the movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: “For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.”

For me that's what I am doing, finding the strength to start all over again, a fresh beginning in the pursuit of a life that I am able to be proud of, a life of passion and honesty. The other day, just before telling my Dad about my sexuality I was lying on the couch reading a book with my son, I asked him how he found one of his subjects at school to which he responded, "it is very boring, I am not being rude Dad, but it is not nice to lie," this obviously struck me, because to me I felt like what I had been doing for most of my life was living a lie, maybe not even consciously, but nonetheless a life that never felt like my construct. This is my last post for March, and although from a blogging point of view I have been quieter than previous months, from a personal level it has been a month filled with massive growth as I found myself searching for the strength to do what it is I knew I needed to do.

Last week I managed to tell my parents, brother, sister in law, mother in law and my best friend about my sexuality. Each and everyone of them has managed to not only accept, but offer their unwavering support to me. I was extremely buoyed and liberated by telling them all, for now everyone that really matters to me knows and now to some degree the honeymoon is over and the reality of the situation begins. I need to now carve out a new life for myself. For my wife and I we seem to have a great desire to maintain a relationship as the best of friends. We enjoy a deep love for each other and although letting go is unbelievably hard for us, it is a reality that we both now seem to know is unavoidable. I am currently seeking out a place to live and expect that in the next week or so, I will once again be packing my little bag as I once again move out of home.

It is an emotional time and one that causes a vacillation of emotions within me, I am pleased that unlike the last time I moved out of home, this time I do so with my loved ones not only understanding, but being able to offer support and remain within my life as I embark on this latest path, a path that seems will now lead me on a new journey. I come from a prominent family within our community "bubble" and due to the fact of who I am, I am expecting allot of interest and fascination within my life. This will to a large degree be my next obstacle and challenge. I am ever mindful of my children, so whilst my coming out would be an activist's dream to try and change stigma's and perception's within our conservative community, I am not here to change society, I am simply trying to change the way I live in it, always conscious that the steps that I take I want to do with dignity allowing my family to remain proud and leaving a legacy for my children who will hopefully judge me on my bravery over and above everything else.

Like I have written before, it is not change alone that scares me, it is regretting what I leave behind. My wife will always be the measure of the person I would want by my side. I know I want more than anything to keep her in my life in the greatest capacity possible, whilst all the while conscious that like she has supported me, I too will support her on her pursuit to find the much deserved happiness she is entitled to. Today when I look in the mirror I am able to feel a sense of pride, pride at not only what I have been able to achieve, but pride at the fact that I have managed to do so with a sense of integrity and above all honesty. There really is no rules as to how one can live life and if I can achieve anything from this decision, it is simply the hope that for my kids they will know that in life if we are brave enough, strong enough and bold enough we really can start all over again, ensuring that we living our one life as happily as possible.

Frank Sinatra:
"For what is a man, what has he got?
If not himself, then he has naught
To say the things he truly feels and not the words of one who kneels
The record shows I took the blows and did it my way!"

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Along my path of self discovery, I often find myself believing that the world is universal and cosmic in the way that coincidences seem to happen. Last Friday night whilst having Sabbath dinner at my parents, I met a remarkable mother. When meeting her I asked her about her children to which she replied, "I have a son who is doctor and gay, and two other children." I was immediately intrigued, not because here was a woman who had a gay son, but that here was a woman who was proud of her gay son and standing in front of me, after a whole week where I had been trying to find the courage to be able to tell my Mom about my sexuality.

Yesterday was a day of me finding the strength to conquer my greatest fears and demons, yesterday was the day that I decided to tell my parents about my sexuality. My first obstacle was my Mom, she is a wonderful women who has endured more than her fair share of hardships in life. She came from a very broken home and from this she has made it her life goal to be the best mother she could be to her children. Allot of my strength, power and drive comes from her, we are both feisty people, but we have always enjoyed a special bond, I guess for her, I am her Cryptonite. After telling my Mom, she stopped for a few minutes holding her chest, I sat there ever worried at what would follow next, but her response was very calm, "this is not so bad." For her there was a sense of understanding, a sense of relief and a sadness for the pain I have been enduring. She was remarkable in her genuine show of not only love, but the unconditional support I so needed. She exceeded my expectations and in that moment our past mistakes had become irrelevant, right there, right then when I needed her most of all, she was more than present, she rose to the occasion. Before me was my Mother and she was not going anywhere.

My Dad is a special man and an exceptional father, but he has always had his limitations in life (or so I thought). He is probably one of the most significant people in my life, yielding a certain amount of influence over me. Our relationship had strained over the last few months and if telling anyone that I was gay scared me, he was without a doubt my greatest fear and obstacle. When I was 18 I got a car and I grabbed my new found freedom with open arms. The result of this freedom included many a car accident, often in the late hours of the night, often after considerable partying. I would phone my Dad for help, he would put on this specific tracksuit and he would come and fetch me, never angry, never asking questions, just happy in the knowing that I was ok. I remember those quiet drives home after he had fetched me, I always wondered what he was thinking, maybe a little nervous at what would still come, but never was there anything aggressive, just love and the knowing that he was there.

My Mom thought it would be best for her to tell my Dad, I knew that she wanted to protect and shield me from the very real and possible response of anger and even rejection. I knew my Dad would require time and I was resolved in my mind that I would not judge him by his initial reactions. After my Mom had spoken to him, she phoned me to ask if i would come to them, I was already there, I walked in prepared for whatever it was that I would encounter. My Mom opened her arms to me, hugged me, I felt like she was protecting me from the world and her love was ever present. I sat down next to my Dad, I could see the fear in his eyes, a pain in his soul, but what he would say to me next was not what I ever expected, he said "you should have told me, I would have put on my tracksuit for you." In that one line I knew, I did not need much more than that and with that one line I felt a sense of freedom and acceptance. I am not sure how or when I lost faith in my parents, but it was not because of them that I did, my mistake was doubting them, my fear was the inhibitor, not them.

This morning I decided to continue my liberation and told my brother, once again I was met with support and love, each and every person that matters to me has managed to surprise me. When speaking to the mother that I met, I asked her, without judgement, but just because I really needed to understand, why was it that she defined her gay son by his sexuality, but not her other children? She stopped, thought and agreed that it was not necessary, but maybe for her that was just her way of showing acceptance, maybe preempting it to the world. If from the last two days I have learnt anything, it is quite simply that my sexuality does not define me, my family and friends and people who matter will always accept me regardless of who it is I sleep next to, because to them they know me and they know my worth, this is something I maybe forgot.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Friends, Romans, Countrymen....

It has been a busy few days for myself and my family, yesterday was my daughter's birthday, it is boggling for me to think that my baby is now six years old. From the moment she was born there was a gentleness to her, an ever present goodness of soul and I am loving watching how that soul continues to blossom. Looking at her on her on our bed yesterday opening all her presents, grateful for everything she got, I could not help but sit there with a certain level of awe how she seemed to take nothing for granted. Even today at her party, she is happy to share the limelight, always acutely aware of those around her, always sensitive to their emotions.

My children are very different personalities and I get a very different understanding and outlook on life from each of them. My approach to parenting varies to their ever changing and unique personalities. I once again had a sit down with my Mom yesterday, this time ever sure that I would be able to honestly express my sexuality to her, but alas, the world had different plans as we were interrupted literally as I was about to read a line on a previous blog that would have left no doubt in her mind as to my conflict. In a way I am pleased, although i have this great desire to tell her, I am still not entirely sure why. What I was able to express to her yesterday and if nothing else was something that needed to be said. I explained and allowed her to see and realize how through subtle manipulation they have always tried to steer me in a course that they believed would make me happy, without ever asking if it would. I married so young in life with little understanding of the commitment I was entering into and yet my parents never hesitated to encourage me to take the leap.

Well leap I did, today is my 9 year wedding anniversary and I can tell you that I never once thought that this was how life would turn out. I was resolved in my decision, I never really hesitated and although there were some who stopped and asked me if I had thought it all through, I guess just like Julius Caesar who was warned in the play by Shakespeare "beware of the Ides of March", but we both seemed arrogant to the fact that no harm could ever come to us, however we were both wrong, although for me this is real life and more importantly my life. My Mom said to me in a discrediting tone that I seemed to be highly analytical of them, to which I explained that I had to be, I am gaining an understanding not only of myself, but my pain as well, it is only when one stops to access and scrutinize oneself properly that one can truly know what to mend.

My marriage might not have been what in my youth I fantasised about, but what it has been is a safe place to be my most vulnerable with a women that clearly loves me very much and who just like my daughter leaves me in awe at her goodness. We have the greatest desire to see each other happy and we find ourselves independent in our journeys, whilst knowing the other is there always encouraging and supporting the other along the way. I flippantly commented on a fellow blogger's post that the answer itself is the easy part, it is the question as to who you want to be that is hardest, this however made me think. It is that simple really, who is it that I wish and want to be. The line that resonates most with me from Shakespeare's play is "Poor Brutus, with himself at war, forgets the shows of love to other men."

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Keeping My Balance..

This Past weekend I enjoyed "hanging" with my son, due to a cycle race that had closed down most roads and made travel difficult I decided to break out the scooter to buzz around on. About 2 years ago I was involved in a serious scooter accident, this has not only made me extremely cautious, but I have also resisted taking my kids on it. Having said this, there was no better day to overcome my fears in this regard and much to my son's delight as we navigated through the busy roads going from coffee shop to coffee shop. Life is made up of little moments of sheer bliss, looking at my son's happy little face, his pure contentment was evident When I felt his arms that were wrapped around me giving me a big squeeze followed by an "I love you Dad", his pure exhilaration became mine, it was a day of contentment for both of us.

Contentment, the feeling of pure bliss, satisfaction and happiness all seem momentary, life is dotted with this special moments and feelings, but underlying all those feelings is a struggle and hardship. I believe that without challenge, without the battle we are not able to truly enjoy the feeling of success, satisfaction and pure joy. I have come to realize that people search out the difficulties in life, hungering for a challenge. I would even go as far to say that we enjoy that life is not easy, because we use those experiences to grow and when we achieve or conquer our obstacles in our paths we are left with the feeling of contentment. The old saying "easy come easy go", might apply here, it is the things we need to fight for that are always the most rewarding.

My life has always been filled with challenges, I have always enjoyed being thrown in a little deeper than I could manage and perhaps have always created challenges for myself. At 34 I have lived a pretty diverse and interesting life so far, I have experienced many different facets of life and I have been able to enjoy multiple perspectives, but it is only now that I truly feel awake to the world. It is as if all my experiences have now come together and slowly the pieces of a puzzle are starting to fit, whilst I am far from understanding life, I certainly am beginning to understand myself. My challenge at the moment is unique to any I have faced before, I am conflicted between my desire to do right and the need to make some mistakes. None of this journey would have been possible without allowing myself a few mistakes along the way, but over the last few months I have managed to grow an inordinate amount, it is noticeable to those around me, especially to the person whose heart I lived under for 9 months, she probably has a very good sense of what I am going through, I think that mothers always do.

I had a fleeting chance to chat to my Mom, although I would have liked more time, somehow last week there was a moment that just seemed right to open up to her. Even though it was just creating the platform to enable me to later be more direct about my sexuality conflict. I was amazed, as we chatted I became certain that my Mom already knows, everything was referred to as "it" and all in all we had the most amazingly open and frank chat I think we have ever had whilst seemingly always aware of the "elephant in the room." I left there feeling so buoyed, confident in the fact that there is very little my parents would not assist and support me with, but more importantly accept, after all I am their son, and a good son at that. I now know as a father that the mistakes we make as parents are often the mistakes that our children bear and hold against us for a lifetime. My greatest achievement over the last few months is the ability to let go of my anger, I have accepted that my parents have done their absolute best that they could and I know I want and need them in my life, perhaps now more than ever.

At the moment I do feel a sense of contentment, however I continue to challenge myself. I am proud of what I have been able to achieve, the way I have faced my challenges and the person that I am evolving into. For me this weekend was not just a matter of me overcoming my fear and getting back onto a bike, it was more than that, it was a chance to connect with my boy, to stop and enjoy the fruits of my labour, what better way to do that then by looking into my little son's eyes and seeing him content.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

"Hear" Today, Gone Tomorrow

As most children do, I grew up with a tremendous fear of death and the temporary nature of the world. I struggled with the concept and the prospect of the unknown, the ultimate panic that after all this grandeur it would merely disappear into nothingness with all our thoughts, memories and experiences being futile and lost. You ask anyone if they want to be younger and the answer is always a big yes, but with the prerequisite of being able to know what they know now. We grow by our experiences, we travel through the world and we feel love,anger,hate and all other emotions as well, but all to often whilst we live we seem to do so forgetting that everything in the world is impermanent. The impermanence of life acts as a reminder that all we have is the present moment, emotions, relationships, sex, security, our lives, even our children, all of it is impermanent.

This past weekend I went to a funeral, it was for an old man who was always a big believer in me. The Jews are known to be flamboyant at times, but I must say the way we bury our dead just seems right. A Jewish burial is done without pomp or very much ceremony, every Jew gets exactly the same burial right down to the simple pine coffin. It is said that the greatest deed one can do is to accompany and assist in a burial, the reasoning for this is that it is the one deed that we perform where the person is unable to give us anything back in return. Watching the funeral this weekend and saying my farewells reiterated for me just how impermanent everything is. The 3 brothers who had been involved in a massive feud amongst themselves found it possible to let their anger go and rather chose to support each other. At the foot of their fathers grave whilst witnessing the sheer fragility of life they realised the futility of their emotions, they used the mortality of life as a motivator to allow their anger to diminish.

The following is an extract from the book "Shantaram":
"It took me a long time and most of the world to learn what I know about love
and fate and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to me in an instant
while I was chained to a wall and being tortured. I realized, somehow, through
the screaming in my mind, that even in that shackled, bloody helplessness, I
was still free: free to hate the men who were torturing me, or to forgive them. It
does not sound like much, I know. But in the flinch and bite of the chain, when
it’s all you’ve got, that freedom is a universe of possibility. And the choice you
make, between hating and forgiving, can become the story of your life."

What the above extract so eloquently reflects for me, is that all to often we forget how fragile life is, we dwell on the insignificant and we loose sight that we can allow our emotions such as hate, anger and even pain to be impermanent. I am trying to focus on the day to day of life, wanting to live within the present, but I too have fears. I find it able to overcome some of those fears, whilst others seem more daunting and take me a little longer. I am preparing to tell my Mom about my sexuality, this would be a huge step for me. Previously I believed that for me telling my parents was not something I needed to conquer now, but standing beside that grave and watching the son's bidding farewell to their father, I realised, that I want and need for my parents to see the whole me. Who I choose to sleep with does not distract from the person I am, but while I conceal this from them I find that I am limiting them from fully accessing my life, I even feel that they are missing out on the best part of me. My hope is that they too will recognize the delicate nature of life and look past stigmas, remembering whats important and finding it within themselves to accept me unconditionally.

I now too sit with the difficult role of trying to explain mortality to my children, but I want to do it from a different stance to what I grew up with. I want my children not to view death with fear or to see it as finite, but rather to see it as a reminder that we are alive now, to live in the present, grasping it with vigour and excitement. Just like life, just like the journey I find myself on, we can never know what awaits us, sometimes we just need to have faith in something bigger than us and maybe in that we will find something eternally permanent.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Come Lie With Me

It is with a mixture of emotions that I have been reading over all my past posts again, reliving and remembering the journey and transformation that I have undertaken over the last several months. After my very first blog entry I had intended to continue with writing about sex, however none of my posts have ever been mainly focused on sex, but rather have been an outlet of emotions. It was as if I was pregnant with thoughts and feelings that were just dying to be birthed and expressed. My blog became a medium not only to communicate my experiences, but as an emotional tool to assist in my own understanding of myself. My blog has always been an honest, open and maybe sometimes to expressive platform for me to vent, share and resolve my steps along my path, with encouragement, advice and the hope that my story might assist someone else.

Throughout my posts, there have been many common themes and thoughts, guilt, pain and most of all fear of change. Looking back at my progress I feel proud that despite my concerns and worries, I seem to have been able to keep moving forward, all the while slowly chipping away and conquering my greatest of fears, finally freeing myself of a life of repression. I allowed myself to open my heart, accept, confront and to realize that fear alone is not a reason to not live ones life fully, because fear is merely the challenge that makes the success of achievement so much sweeter.

My son reminds me so much of myself as a child, I thus have been able to identify the fears that seem to inhibit him and to encourage him to overcome them. I remember him needing to have his tonsils removed, to which he was absolutely pained with concern and worry, as much as I tried to appease him that it was needed and would be fine, his over consuming distress was all to evident. He asked me why I had told him, and why I had not just taken him unknowing of what was about to come, to which I responded, "because I would never lie or deceive you, and I promise you that it will be ok." This seemed to provide the assurance he needed. I was proud at how despite his fear, he kept himself not only composed, but showed bravery as well. Truth is such a vital foundation of a any relationship and it is on this basis that I could not find myself travelling a journey under the guise of personal growth if truth was not part of my moral core.

For me telling the truth is a show of our caring to those that matter to us, but truth is especially important when not providing honesty affects the people that we are withholding it from, limiting the ability for the other to make a clear choice. I know all to well that when I withheld the truth about my sexuality I simply encumbered my wife with emotions of rejection, confusion and a diminished self. Despite the pain that sharing my secrets with her have caused, I gave her the ability to make choices, I freed her of burden, responsibility and I showed her the respect she deserved and my love for her as well.
I too now know all to well what it feels like to be lied to, having ones choice taken away and the pain that one endures from such lies. With the truth one not only has a clear way forward, but it also provides them with the choice of whether to forgive or not. I believe that it is the path of forgiveness that ultimately sets one free from anger, but this does not always mean that we allow that person further access to ourselves.

Access is something else that fascinates me, we open our hearts, we allow ourselves to be vulnerable and we lay out our bodies to be explored by others. We do this for various reasons, but when it is done within a meaningful relationship with the beauty of heart and body it tends to be with someone that has made us feel safe, allowing us to be our most vulnerable. Ultimately everyone wants to feel safe, it is daunting to expose ones heart, knowledgeable that in doing so we open ourselves to accept pain as well. I have always enjoyed the intimacy that one gets from a deeper connection, from knowing the person, seeing them for more than just their skin value and then allowing oneself to be properly accessed. I have also learnt that such access can also be taken away.

I am on a fresh path, a new beginning, moving forward and still evolving. When one feels pain, hurt and let down it becomes easy to close our hearts. The fear of further hurt becomes a restrictor, limiting us, ultimately resulting in a lonely existence with us wearing our pain as a badge and the inability to form further meaningful relationships going forward. For me this remains a journey not solely based on sex, but rather an understanding of my sexuality. I will not let my fear of pain inhibit the ability to continue proceeding with an open heart, because for me I see so clearly how the beauty of loving far outweighs the danger of hurt. Being loved is something everyone strives for, but loving others is where the true mystique of life exists, it is the medicine for life and the underlying mark that one leaves behind.

“All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.” Galileo Galilei

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Follow the Instructions

I remember when my son was born being totally overwhelmed with how life changing having a child was, I was young, a mere 25 years old, when asking our prenatal teacher why she had not warned us how hard it would all be, she responded "nothing I could have told you would have prepared you." I find that with most gay men, the journey and exploration of their sexuality is all to often just as daunting if not more so. Just like having kids, when one goes on the journey of understanding not only their sexuality, but who they are, there is no instruction manual that comes along with it. It becomes very much a path of self discovery, usually dotted with both amazing and painful experiences, but like the saying goes "what does not kill us makes us stronger."

Initially a big part of the exploring of my sexuality was coupled with me looking for affirmation. Affirmation is an unusual desire and I dare anyone to tell that it is something they do not hunger for. I have always realized that it is not affirmation alone that is important, but rather the people from whom that affirmation comes from. I have found though that the gay world seems to find affirmation not in the quality of the connections that they make with people, but rather with the number of people that they feel the can have, even conquer, as if it is some sort of brag book. I think in this lies a huge flaw, because in life all we can really leave behind that is truly meaningful and enduring are those relationships, the paths that we have crossed and most importantly the lives we have been able impact.

For me, I always went into this journey with both my eyes and my heart open. I knew that this would never be a journey in which my answers to who I am would be found merely inside of other's bedrooms, and so for me this was always about my sexuality and not just sex alone. It is only now that I find myself elevating out of the depression, pain and trauma that I have found myself feeling over the past months and in particular last few weeks, that i can properly see how low I actually felt. I found myself becoming the prize in a tug of war competition between my ex boyfriend and my wife. Whilst both of them knew the life that they wanted with me, they seemed to forget about what it is I wanted. I often thought that it was I who was selfish, but I see now that for both of them, my journey diverted from me being able to explore my sexuality, to a situation where their need for me in their lives superseded and diminished my ability to evolve and explore myself, all the while the expectations on me became overly demanding. My energy was being sapped, the need for me to manage their ever vacillating moods meant very little was left for the ebb and flow of my emotions

I allowed myself to become vulnerable, and it is in this vulnerability that i was being directed with subtle plays on my emotions and even my pain. I can't remember when the choice that I was being asked to make stopped from being a choice based on my sexuality or a search for fulfilment, but somewhere along the way it had become a choice between two people and neither of them was making it any easier for me. I thought I would never be able to successfully make a decision, but choose I have, but the irony lies in the fact that I have chosen myself. For the first time I have begun to accept my sexuality, I have come to the realisation that my sexuality does not necessarily define me. No matter how much I try and wish it away, I have come to terms with knowing that such thoughts are futile, because I know my worth and my sexuality alone does not in anyway diminish that.

I do not know what the future holds for me, I resigned myself along time ago to the fact that trying to predict the future is outside of my abilities, all I can do is focus on evolving, moving forward and ensuring that I do so in the most caring and respectful manner, all the while mindful of my family and those sharing my journey with me. As turbulent as this road has been, not once have I regretted being on it. There are things I would have changed or done differently and I do wish I had done it earlier in my life, but I am loving learning that it is never to late. So I am allowing myself to not only grow, but I am enjoying being able to be me, without the lies, repression or weight of denying myself. I have a long road to still travel, but I am resolved, I am motivated and I am confident that ultimately I will emerge wiser, fuller and happier than I ever could have been simply ignoring such a huge part of my construct.

Not only have I come to accept my sexuality, but I am learning how to forgive and to stop judging my mistakes, because I have been able to recognize my errors of the past and I am endeavouring to rectify them and ensuring that I do not continue to make them going forward. In life the only teacher is in the right and the wrong that we do, but it is our responsibility to ensure that we learn from those lessons. So whilst I have come to accept that there is no instruction manual for life, I am beginning to discover that for my children I can no longer worry about what it is that they choose to do in life, but rather encourage who it is that they choose to be as people.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I Can See Clearly Now the Tears are Gone..

As a child, it took me a long time to mature emotionally, whilst I enjoyed living in the confounds of the security of a "bubble" that I controlled, I seldom found myself crying other than when I was removed from the safety of that "bubble".
I remember going to watch the movie E.T. and at the end of it my parents asked me why I never cried, to which I responded, "because no one told me when to." I find myself again in a place where I feel like it is difficult for me to cry, at first it bothered me, but now i have come to accept that it might just be best for me right now.

This morning I went for breakfast with my gorgeous little daughter, she enjoys an access to my heart that no one else possesses and I think she knows it as well. We have always shared a unique bond and all to often even in her youth she expresses a maturity and a knowing of what I need and when I need it. To me she is my little Princess and that is probably because she knows how to make me feel like a King. My morning with her seemed to give me perspective and although I have always been what I believe to be a good Dad, somehow this morning with her measuring the size of her fingers against mine, I came to realize that in my hand I was holding her whole world and in that it reminded me of my responsibility.

The other day I met someone who seems to know exactly what it is that they want, but what intrigued me is not that he knew what it is he wants as much as his ability and drive to go and get it. For the first time in a long time, I have been able to let go of the emotion and turmoil that has seemed to paralyse me. In the last few days i have released so much of the external pulls that were making my decisions impossible to resolve. I am freeing my life of complications and I am excluding the drama, so as to enable myself to see clearly and allow myself the ability to not only continue my drive for what it is I am searching for, but to also ensure that i have clarity as to what it is I want out of my life. I was told that in discipline lies freedom, I guess I am creating the freedom in order to allow me discipline within my life.

I am gaining an understanding as to what is definitive in my life, and my role as father will always be on the top of that list. I am resolved in the fact that my role as Dad is non negotiable, but in that it also does not mean that it excludes the ability and even a responsibility to live my life as complete and happy as I can. What ever my sexuality is will never hamper or distract from the fact that I love my children, my role as father is ensuring that they always know it.
I am proud of my kids and I am proud of my wife and I for the manner that we have been able to keep them prioritised, above all of the strain we have managed to protect them from our lives so as to enable them to live theirs. In this I have certainty that no matter what the future brings, my wife and I will remain unified as parents, always considering them above all else and hopefully using our lives as a foundation from which they can build theirs.

I don't think my inability for me to cry at the moment reflects that I am numb emotionally, on the contrary I feel more awake than I have for a long time. I have finally found some of the stillness that i have been searching for and in that I now have the ability to ensure that i not only continue to evolve, but that I do so in a manner that is not only right for me, but is right for those around me as well. I trust in the fact that I am a good person and whilst all to often I try and please those I love, I see now that before I can please anyone, I need to first please myself.
To quote Alex Tan: “Perhaps our eyes need to be washed by our tears once in a while, so that we can see life with a clearer view again.” I think I have now cried enough and life certainly does seem clearer to me, I guess it is now that the journey can really begin.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Neither Here nor There!

As I sit here writing this, I should actually have been on a plane on my way to the Holy Land, but sometimes as I have recently learnt all to well, life throws us a "curve ball".
I am usually such an organized and together kinda guy, having all the i's dotted and the t's crossed, but alas in my confusion of my life I seem to struggle to find focus.
This morning as I was preparing my normal travel routine, I came to the sudden shock that I had allowed my passport to expire making it impossible for me to make the trip. Although it was going to be just a short business trip, I was looking forward to getting away from reality for a little while, but sometimes life prevents us from achieving that.

Today it was as if my wife had woken up, alert to the reality of our circumstance, and although our best intentions going forward were to preserve not only our relationship, but to safeguard the sanctity of our family, we have come to ask at what expense.
Our love for each other has never been in question, and we have all the makings of a wonderful marriage together, but in order to achieve and build a successful marriage where one partner is likely gay and actively needing to explore this part of myself, it seems like an impossibility. We are both still young, attractive and I am certain deserving of more than locking ourselves into a relationship that is unable to be fulfilling to either of us.

For me I have been on a relatively short journey in order to try and come to a big understanding of who it is I am, and although I am certain that it will till take a considerable amount of time before I evolve or even remotely come close to figuring out this answer, what I do know is, a relationship in which I need to be honest to my wife, whilst lying to myself is neither fair nor practical. If sexuality is a pendulum like everyone describes with people falling in different levels on the arc of the swing, I do not know where exactly I would fall on this scale, but I am aware that whilst my pendulum might still be swinging the odds are that it will likely fall closer to the gay side than the straight.

One might think that this is allot to give up, that the price we are paying by letting go of a 12 year relationship, and a family built is just to high, but I would argue that the price in not letting go is even higher. I have always felt guilt at what it is that I have not been able to provide my wife over the years, I have felt underlying disappointment for not being true to myself, but most of all I can not live with myself asking my wife to let go of so much of herself when I am not prepared or able to give up this in me. I can only hope that the support and love that my wife and I have will be enough and will endure us through, that we will be able to support each other as we embark on new paths all be them separate ones, but most of all I just pray that we will always be able to remain unified as parents.

So while I have not travelled away, i am neither home, I guess i am in a state of no man's land as we now try and navigate our way forward. I am scared, daunted and feeling tremendously tired, somehow I even feel an extreme sense of loneliness, but I am a father and my family needs me to now focus and help steer us through.
It has been an extremely turbulent ride and I know those around me have had opinions as to what would be right for us in this situation, but I guess all we needed was time so as to enable us to not only discover, but accept the reality...

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Truth Fairy

My 7 year old son has now reached the stage where he is losing his teeth. I can't help but think back to when he was just a baby and all those late nights, moans, groans and cuddles to ease the pain whilst waiting for these same teeth to eventually come out, now seems diminished by watching them falling out. I guess it is a natural progression, it is the way life is, we go through cycles and with growth the pain is inevitable, but seldom futile.
I managed to pull 2 loose teeth out for him this past weekend, one of the teeth was more ready that the other, but I managed to get both out with very little fuss and bother, much to his relief. My son believes that the 2nd tooth was not as ready to come out, and in his feeling that it was prematurely removed, he has told me that "I stole his tooth.

I never got to make it to the end of my curfew deadline with my boyfriend and so much of me feels like I had time with him stolen from me. I know all the rules in situations like this are to let go of the 3rd party, move on, and dedicate ones self to their home, family and wife, but often the reality of being able to let go is just so hard.
I fear I will be reentering the realms of dishonesty, not because I will be further cheating on my wife, but because I worry that I am going to lie to myself. How does one just deny that they care for someone, let them go as if they never meant anything or pretend to stop loving them?

At the moment I feel like one does after that last bite of chocolate, disappointed that it is finished with only the lingering taste dissolving in my mouth, but still hungry for more. I know all to well the road and path ahead is the right one, I remind myself of the reasons for deciding to be with my wife and I try and maintain self beleif.
All I want is to be held gently in hand like one would cradle sand, because squeezing only results in the sand pouring out from between the fingers. I hope that both my wife and boyfriend understand this need for me to relieve the pressure and ever squeezing hand, and that both allow me the due space to evolve so as to enable me to not only choose where it is that I need to be, but that I am able to find who it is that I am as well.

I asked my son when tugging out his teeth to believe in me, which he duly did and I was pleased to see that I did not cause him pain. Unfortunately I am not as lucky in my love life, because in my pull and pursuit for further understanding I not only seem to have lost the belief of those that matter, but the pain i seem to be causing is unavoidable.
I am lucky that my business travels will allow me the opportunity to spend the upcoming weekend in the Holy City Jerusalem, I am looking forward to taking the opportunity to look back at the layers of history and not only reflecting on the growth of humankind, but on my own as well.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Man in the Mirror

The other day in the newspaper there was a little Charlie Brown Cartoon in which Charlie is asked where he is going, his response was "I am going to the dentist to have my teeth criticised".
For me over the last few months being in front of a mirror all to often felt like Charlie Brown's visit to the dentist, whilst I have softened to those around me, on myself I have remained extremely hard, often unable to forgive myself not only for hurting the people that I love so much, but mostly because of feeling that I have not been true and honest to myself for so much of my life.

A curfew and period of time was given to me to resolve this within myself (being the 5 weeks of opening my marriage) but the ticking of the stopwatch created a sense of panic and insecurity, it is not an easy decision to consider leaving a partner of 12 years, my family as I know it, my home and the life that I have put so much energy into building. As I have written before, I do not fear the change itself as much as I fear regretting what I would be leaving behind. In the impending need to decide I have reached a point where i have become overwhelmed and my mind has entered a state of "analysis paralysis" and a feeling that my thoughts are locked in an eternal loop. With the inability to shut of my mind, it has resulted in me reaching the point of sheer exhaustion and throwing me into a state of depression.
Throughout my pressures, pain and confusion I have always remained reluctant to have to resort to any form of medication, I never wanted to loose my ability to feel, but with the stakes being so high and those feelings over consuming me I have had no alternative, but to now take the advice of my shrink and doctor and allow myself some assistance medically in finding the relief and answers I have been searching for.

Although the medication has created a slight feeling of numbness, and a sense of withdrawal from reality, it has also seemed to bring a certain amount of clarity as well. I never truly believed that I would find the answer within my curfew period, however part of me always hoped that the right path would reveal itself. I feel now that with a slightly greater sense of clarity, I have been able to find just such a path, a path along which i hope to ensure that I make a decision to be happy within a construct of living a life that is of my making. So much of my life I have found myself consumed with making those around me proud often to my own detriment, where now I want that I rather live to make myself proud first. It is in this vain that going forward instead of picking the path others have desired for me, I will continue to walk along a path that i am comfortable travelling, and one with which I can set an example to my children as to how to live a fuller and whole life.

As important a part of my life as my children are, I found it was my wife who was restricting me by holding onto my leg so tightly, scared of the prospect of letting me go, somehow despite everything that I have thrown at her, it was me that she remained wanting. Watching her fighting for our marriage distracted me from the fact that as much as I pushed her, I too was not ready to actually ask her to let go of me and what we have built together.
My greatest obstacle through my entire journey whilst pursuing who it is that i really am, was doubt. The fact that I was not truly ready to let my wife go, inhibited me from ever being able to pursue a full life beyond that of my marriage. After the support that my wife has given me, I find myself unable to give up on a marriage that i am now able to be both vulnerable and honest in, but most of all, one that i would doubt leaving.

So in order to allow myself the ability to now move forward I have committed to pursue staying home, and whilst this might not mean "happily ever after", I can but only try. I will not allow that I once again reach a point of denying my true self or ending my pursuit to be happy, but rather try to resolve without any doubt, that the life i have with my wife is not a life that is able to be fulfilling, not only for me, but her as well. I am confident that this is the correct decision for us, however I am cautious to not allow myself to reach a stage where I once again deny myself an honest identity or one in which I find myself preventing my wife from having a deserving relationship. Before I can continue to fully pursue a life as either a single man, a single gay man or a relationship with my boyfriend, it is my role as husband that i need to resolve first, so that should I choose a path that leads me in a direction away from my wife, it is done knowing that we tried and secure in the fact that it is a decision that was made cautiously and conscious of not only ourselves, but our children as well.

To properly achieve this resolution I have had to say goodbye to my boyfriend and whilst i hoped that the medication would make this decision that much easier to bear, I find myself reaching all new lows with my mind constantly consumed with the many memories of the most extraordinary 7 months with him.
The greatest pain and difficulty is having cut off communication with him, such making it unable for me to remind him of how special, loved and missed he is. It is hard to let go of him without creating doubt in his mind as to how much he means to me, but I know now with absolute certainty that in order for me to properly resolve my future with anyone, I have to be given the opportunity to still further evolve, explore within myself and to give my family the chance not only for their sakes, but for my mine as well. I am no longer able to do this living two lives or with the constant echo of a ticking clock constantly haunting me.
Within the agreement to be honest with my wife going forward and the acknowledgement that I will no longer repress my emotions, but rather be true to myself, I am not going to try and hide the pain of having had to let my boyfriend go, he is not a switch that I will easily be able to turn off, but maybe in that will lie an answer within itself.

So my journey now has changed from the imminent need to answer questions within myself, to one of patience and allowing myself time to evolve to a place of certainty and stability so that I can try and live as still and doubt free life as possible, certain that the life that I eventually choose to live is one of my construct and choice and in which everyone can be happy.
If I have achieved anything over the last few months, it is that I can proudly say that for the first time in my life I am honest with the the people that matter most to me. My goal now is to ensure that I am honest with myself so as to enable me the ability to look in the mirror without any critique.

"An example is often a deceptive mirror, and the order of destiny, so troubling to our thoughts, is not always found written in things past." Pierre Corneille

Monday, February 8, 2010

A ride worthwhile?

There was always an underlying awareness of my sexual attraction to men even as a young boy, however I always chose to ignore and repress any such feelings. Although many an opportunity presented itself during which I would have been allowed to explore this part of myself, such as during my numerous traveling expeditions, right up to men actually pursuing me, I always rather chose and decided that mentally this was a dimension to myself that I would prefer not to explore in reality.
I would describe my pursuit of understanding my sexuality as a roller coaster ride, the initial gradual and tedious climb up the slope that seems to take forever, followed by a ride filled with twisting and jerking movements, that deep in your stomach nausea and frightening the willing participants and leaving them with the question as to why they got on in the first place.

For me my ride has been an extremely slow progression of events that has taken me to the place that I am now. As a child I went through the normal exploration of not only my own individual body, but often looking at friends in the change rooms etc followed by a sense of guilt and repulsion. The first time that I fully became aware of my intrigue in the male body was when I was 21, I walked into a porn shop in London and I found that the male covers of the porn magazines were catching my eye, although I was never brave enough to ever go over and actually look through them, but something inside of me stirred.
My progression from that point happened simultaneously with the development of the Internet and technology, right from dialing in to view very basic gay porn sites, to the now sophisticated online camming with people from around the world. I then found my progression bringing me onto a local gay "meet up" website, from which my pursuit and progression changed from one of fantasy to one of reality.

When this all started for me I was already dating my wife, and although I was confused by my sexual emotions, I was convinced that this was a part of myself that did not require exploring beyond the cyber world, I was to be right for the next 12 years. Despite believing that I would be able to remain sexually and emotionally drawn to women I would often would find myself asking her, "but how do you know you love me?", and "what does love really feel like?"
I could see the absolute goodness in my wife, I loved not only how she made me feel, but how she cared and loved me, she spoilt me by tending to my every whim. The then fear and lack of proper understanding of my emotions overcame me and I proceeded to try and break up with her. I recall her looking at me with such torment and pain in her eyes as she grabbed onto my leg unwilling to let go until I reconsidered. Reconsider I did, and as they say in Hollywood the rest is history.

Today my wife and I have what many would describe as a perfect life and i would even tend to agree, but what happens when the perfect life is not the life that you think you want?
Today I am not only aware of what love feels like , but I know with full certainty that I am in love with my wife. In loving her I do have worries and concerns for her, I worry whether in the future I will be able to fulfill her needs, I worry about my ability to not only give her what she wants, but more so that I am deserving of her and I fear that I am holding her back from what could be a more fulfilling life with someone else. Most of all I worry about being a committed husband, not only in the monogamous sense, but in an emotional sense as well, causing her to feel not only caged, but bringing her into the closet with me.
I now wonder if she "kicked me out", gave up hope on us and chose to move on with her life without me, if this would not be easier. There would be no further expectations of me, and I would lose a measure of my ability to hurt her beyond the damage that I have already done.

Unfortunately this is not a situation where I can just close my eyes endure the discomfort and wait for the ride to end, I have to much at stake, I need to be certain that I steer through the sharp turns and bends to ensure that my passengers are looked after, especially the kids.
I often have wondered where our lives would be today had she let go of my leg all that time ago, but that was not meant to be our destiny, the only question now is wether it is fair for us to continue holding onto each other.
Although it feels like I am on a roller coaster ride, I can tell you this is no amusement park.

In the words of Franklin P. Jones "Love doesn't make the world go round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile."

Friday, February 5, 2010

Remember Me....

My 5 year old daughter has always had a bit of an eye for the boys, it is with trepidation that I have watch here explore many a love affair with different "boyfriends". There is an amazing beauty in the innocence of young love, and I love seeing how basic love could and maybe should be. The latest little guy in her string of boyfriends seems to have stolen her heart, he seems like a nice enough and gentle chap, and he treats her like the princess I know her to be. The following is a letter that she dictated to my wife to write on her going away card for him:
"Oh Nicholas I know that you are going to China, come back when you are 21. I hope you have a nice time in China. please have a lovely time and don't forget about me. This is a card for you, take it with you and I will miss you. Come fetch me when you are 21. Love From X.

When I was 8 I fell in love for the first time, although we were so young the relationship for the two of us felt real and mature, we often dreamed of marriage and a long future together. Even in my youth I enjoyed the stability of long term relationships, we were able to sustain this relationship for nearly 4 years until the day came that her family had decided to immigrate.
I remember the sheer devastation at the prospect of not only losing my love, but my best friend as well. She had become my safety net and rock in what for me was a very insecure childhood.
We pledged our undying love and promised to wait for each other, a task even more difficult in those days without email, Skype or Facebook, so after the 1st few letters and the time that allowed our fragile hearts to mend, we both found it possible to move on.
Today she still lives abroad, is in a committed and happy lesbian relationship and has recently had children, we still chat and reminisce back to the old days, but despite our desire to be together and in a world where the only constant is change it was inevitable that we would go our separate ways.

When my wife and I were living together, just shortly after the 911 Attacks my Dad bought us a painting of the World Trade Centres and at the back he wrote "only love endures." Love is such a vital foundation to a solid and committed relationship, but all to often love alone is just not enough.
On my last post I was asked the question that if I did not have a wife, boyfriend or children where would I find myself being pulled and what would my sexual orientation be? This is a good question and one that I am giving allot of thought. So much of this journey has been about picking who I want to be with, instead of simplifying it to a simple where is it that I would like to be and who is that I see myself as.

My Wife, Boyfriend and I have taken the decision to take these 5 weeks (of which 2 weeks are left), to figure out what it is we all want, because for both my boyfriend and wife they seem to want me it has left me with the ultimate decision as to who it is that I wanted to be with. I see now that the decision is just going to be to overwhelming and daunting for me, and changing the focus onto where rather than with whom might be a better way forward for me and make the decision all that easier.
Perhaps being alone for awhile might also be the better overall decision, that way I have no expectations on anyone else except myself, it will allow me the time to balance and explore within myself. Making the decision to be alone might seem simple, but considering the trauma that my children went through last time, it is a decision that I know is not free of consequences and one that I will have to carefully contemplate, but one that might ultimately be necessary.

Somewhere in the last hurdle of this emotional journey I seem to be losing my boyfriend, he has his own journey, demons and issues to overcome. I have never doubted his love, dedication or desire to be with me, the last few months with him are dotted with wonderful memories, experiences and he has awoken me in so many ways.
Looking back I think how lucky I am that it is he that was able to catch me, and although perhaps he feels the contray, I think he underestimates the goodness, love and impact that he has given my life for the positive. I fell in love with a guy running barefoot into a night club to buy more cigarettes, our lives started off in the most simple of situations with very few expectations, but I guess in the ever changing world life got complicated for us.
As I feel him slipping from between my fingers, just like my daughter's card I too want to say that I love him and ask him to come fetch me one day, but I know all to well that this is neither fair nor realistic, I guess just like my daughter all I can hope for is that he does not forget me...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

You look so Gay in that Box...

Yesterday I was feeling very down, the ever looming deadline and realization of an impending decision seems to be taking it's toll on me. Whilst popping out for my morning ritual, which is a coffee and muesli rusk, I noticed a man walking in wearing a t-shirt with a slogan that read "I am not gay, but my boyfriend is", I had to smile. He wore it with pride and I could not help but think to myself how far we had come, and yet how far we still have to go.

This week I was upset to read how a fellow blogger seemed to struggle labeling himself as gay (which is fair enough I feel the same way), but i disagreed with his reasoning and I quote "It’s just that sometimes I don’t like being lumped in the same category as the fruity fruit loops. That sounds bad but it’s the truth." He was referring to being thrown into the same box as effeminate gay men.
I am definitely not a believer in being labeled either, I have written about this in an earlier post, and to be honest as an extremely masculine straight acting man I often struggle with the concept of classifying myself as bi-sexual let alone gay. I however have learnt that it does not matter whether or not I am labelled or choose to fit into one of the numerous boxes available as it is all irrelevant, however what does matter is that I am happy.

I try not to judge others, I have in the past, but somehow along this journey I would like to think that I have softened, become more gentle, more tolerant and less judgemental. I have come to the realization that everyone has the right to be happy, but often it comes with great hardship, especially when it comes to ones sexual identity. So I have to ask myself, how is it that someone who is battling with his own sexuality, who is unable to be brave enough to live his life openly, and hides the truth not only from his family and friends, but from himself as well (I am not judging him for this), still finds it within himself to criticize effeminate gays? Does he not realize that they represent the very thing he is striving for....a honest and open life, a more accepting world and an understanding of there sexuality.

I wish I was raised not only in a more accepting time, but that I had parents that were more open minded to me being different, I pursued living their expectations of a life that they desired for me as i was not brave enough to live the construct of my own life or challenge and questione what was presented to me as the right path.
I have no regrets, I was blessed to marry a wonderful woman, with whom anyone would be thrilled to have as their life partner, and I have been blessed with two beautiful children, but I remain with the question, would this have been my choice knowing what I now know, having explored my sexuality and knowing that I have the capacity to not only be with a man sexually, but to love him as well?

On Sunday night, my boyfriends emotions and the challenge and frustration of the last few weeks culminated into and emotional outbreak and the desire for him to now have an answer. I got the sense that he was less concerned as to what the answer would be than him actually receiving the answer itself, I think that the desire to get on with his life had become all too consuming. Don't get me wrong, I don't doubt our mutual love, and I certainly don't doubt his desire for a future together, but I think and fairly so, that everyone involved is now exhausted and requiring some sense of stability and normality back in their lives
We have all been on a roller coaster ride over the last few months, but I would like to think that despite the pain, torment and exhaustion we have all endured, we all seem to be allot more aware of ourselves and each one of us would agree maybe even better people.

I can honestly say, I am not sure which life it is I see myself happiest in, I guess I will never fully know. I do know that letting go of either life though is going to be enormously challenging for me. I not only have fears with choosing a life, but I also have fears about the life I choose to leave behind.
Leaving my wife, would mean leaving my home, and allowing her to not only meet new men, but to also allow that man to play the role of father to my children. Yes I would always be their Dad, but it is a hard pill to swallow to imagine another man having more time with my children than even I, not to mention my children's mental states, my wife's emotions and everything else I would be giving up on.
Leaving my boyfriend leaves me with the fear and notion of someone else having the access to him that I have enjoyed, it will be hard to stop worrying and caring for him, i think of him so often and I fear that he would regress back into an empty life with little regard to how wonderful and special he is, but through it all, the fear that worries me the most, its the fear of simply not having either my wife or boyfriend in my life.

I honestly believe that I find myself having to make this decision that I am now faced with because i was not raised knowing that exploring and challenging this part of myself in my youth was ok. I find myself in this situation for fear of being judged, labelled and ridiculed just as my fellow blogger is doing to others even in his own struggle for his identity, but most of all I struggle within myself to undo the fear that exists in my own limitations from leading this life.
I guess if I was brave enough to wear a t-shirt in public it would read "I am not gay, but I love my boyfriend", the question is am I brave enough, or would I rather just ridicule others who are?

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Hitting a Chord

Somehow since taking this journey, I seem to have become more aware and awake to life happening around me, I now am able to see beauty in the things that ordinarily would have just passed me by.
A few days ago whilst at my boyfriend's gallery he had a blind man tuning his piano. The man was unable to actually play the piano, but because of his inability to see (he was born blind), his hearing had become so sensitive that it allows him to distinguish the finest differences between notes. I found absolute beauty in watching how he he had become so acutely aware of the piano he was working on.

I think why watching him resonated with me was that I too feel like I am trying to tune my life, and in my inability to find clarity I am striving to become acutely aware of my emotions and feelings.
Today there are 3 weeks left in the time frame that I have been given to explore what it is I think i would like from life, and the more I explore the more confused and lost I seem to become, each day seems like a vacillation of emotions.
In 3 weeks I have to decide which life it is that I feel the strongest pull and desire for. No matter which life I select to pursue, I will have to let the other go and what scares me the most is that I know no matter which decision it is that I make, I will feel tremendous pain. How do I knowingly let someone I love go?

I know that I can no longer lead two lives, for me the living of a double life is exhausting, confusing and not fair on my family or boyfriend, but in it I seem to have found a wholeness that I think will be hard to replicate in the pursuit of only one life.
So what is the answer, how do I proceed, how do I continue to exist and how do I find my wholeness going forward after selecting just one life?
I guess the answer lies in myself, now knowing that there is so much of life that I have let me pass me by unnoticed, i will try and find wholeness and fill the void that will be created in letting go by exploring not only within myself, but with the new found beauty of how I integrate with the world around me.

This probably all sounds very philosophical, but I guess in a way I am trying to reassure myself that I will be ok, that I will be able to survive the pain and that in time I will learn to accept my new life.
I am hoping that in the coming weeks, like the blind man tuning the piano I too will be acutely tuned to the sound of my heart, and be able to listen to it, the same way that I am now able to hear a symphony simply by listening to the rustling of the leaves in the wind.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Letter to my Wife...

This is a letter that I am going to read to my wife at our marriage counselling session tomorrow:

Our wedding was a spectacular event and celebration, we were able to create a ceremony that was a true testimony to our love for each other. Watching the video again, I can still see how even in our youth and exuberance how very much in love we were even then, we seemed to glow with happiness and excitement at the beautiful future we saw ourselves having. 9 years ago I said in my wedding speech to you, "so many people have said to me that a relationship takes hard work, but with you Babe, you make loving you so easy", I see now that I was wrong and right.

I was wrong to think that a relationship is not hard work, maybe in my youth I was unaware and minimizing the commitment and promise that I was in fact making to you. We were in such a hurry to begin our path to a life that we saw our parents having and the desire for the stability of a family that we were maybe oblivious to the work and hardships I am sure that our parents must have had endured to get there.
Somewhere between the birth of our 2 kids(which we again rushed into with eagerness) that were born with just a 14 month age gap, prenatal depression, work stress and trying to climb the social ladder, we have seemed to lose each other.
I think we found ourselves pulling apart, you engulfing yourself into motherhood and the role of house wife, and me trying to ensure that we had all the material trappings required, and networking ourselves into the upper crust of society. We achieved all of this at a very young age often to the resentment and jealousy of those around us, but also slowly developing deep resentment for each other.
We seemed to lose the Joie de Vivre for life, putting on copious amounts weight, and entering the comfortable slumber of the mundane.

In the same breath I was so right in my speech, loving you was always easy, we got so much right within our marriage. We have always enjoyed a mutual respect, love, kindness and until now total trust in each other.
I guess I have always had sexual identity issues, although I was never able to understand them myself let alone to try and explain them to anyone else, and so this was an aspect of my life I chose to ignore and repress.
I know now, that allot of my internal anger and hardness has come from trying to be someone I wasn't or more so not having explored or understanding this part of me, however what saddens me the most is that you bore the brunt of it. I feel I have left your self confidence damaged at the prospect of a husband who was not able to fully desire you as a women, and it is for this reason that I have chosen the path of total honesty with you. I see now how we tended to make mountains out of mole hills, because there was never anything significant in our marriage to fight about, so we took the little things as an outlet for our ever growing resentment for each other and a diversion from the truth.

I don't need to explain resentment to you, but I do know that it is a difficult emotion to overcome, it is different to anger or pain, and ultimately will be our greatest obstacle to conquer.
As I sit her today, I feel inadequate to be your husband, and I feel like I have failed the promise to you in my wedding speech "that the work will be mine to make you always feel like the Queen you are to me", somewhere along the way I pulled back and probably left you feeling anything but the Royalty you truly are.
Through this all I need you to know, that I have never stopped loving you, and when I said in my speech "that you are my best friend and wife of my dreams", I meant it and still do. Even in my youth, even in my confusion of my sexuality, I always knew without any doubt, you were and always will be the only women in the world for me. Not a day has gone by that I have not been proud and honoured to have you by my side. Together we have slowly managed to lose our weight and achieve the bodies we desired, we have overcome our depression and we are raising two wonderful little people, but now the time has come for us to look even deeper.

We have been asked to asses what it is that we want out of our marriage, and the obvious answer is for us both to be happy, fulfilled and whole, but more than that I want the adventure back. I want the excitement, mutual ambition and most of all I want the stimulation. Somehow in all of this we seem to have pulled together, buoyed by the challenge and unified in our efforts to care for each other and to protect our family, and now we find ourselves self reflecting and finding each other in the mirror.
Going forward I would look for us to be independent in our thoughts and lives, to be together whilst at the same time being individuals free of suffocation, but still sharing our challenges, hardships and successes, I don't want us to settle, I want us to live, taste life and continue to grow, I want to do this without living a life dictated to us by social rules and acceptability's.
Running away would have been the easy choice, running away would be the norm, I know that I have broken many a vow and commitment that I made on that special day, but at the very least I am still here, fighting, trying and doing the very best that I can.

I am so sorry that the youngster who stood in front of you, presenting confidence and promising you the world has let you down in such a big way, you deserved more and you continue to deserve more going forward. If anything though, even in the lack of sexual passion and desire , I hope that I have never left you doubting my absolute respect and deep soulful love for you. In the words of our wedding song by Joe Cocker:

You are so beautiful
To me
You are so beautiful
To me
Can't you see
You're everything I hoped for
You're everything I need
You are so beautiful
To me

You are so wonderful
To me
You are so wonderful
To me
Can't you see
You're everything I hoped for
You're everything I need
You are so wonderful
To me

You are so beautiful
To me
You are so beautiful
To me
Can't you see
You're everything I hoped for
You're everything I need
You are so beautiful
To me