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.