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