The Fantasy

~ I wrote the following in March 2011 right before my 29th birthday. At the time I was closeted. ~

cropped bright
I have this fantasy…

It starts black, like my eyes are closed. Suddenly they open and at first everything is a blurry flood of light and colors. Then things begin to focus and take shape. I’m standing in a large room: a banquet hall. The air feels warm; comfortable and inviting. The lighting is dim and yet bright enough to fill the room. The gentle glow illuminates from lamps on tables and flows down from beautiful chandeliers hanging safely above the room.

Then the room is filled with people, some sitting at the tables and talking, others simply standing together conversing in clusters. They are a moving wave of colors, sometimes stopping to talk and then moving on to greet others. I can see their faces and it is obvious that they are all delighted to be there. It’s a sea of friends and pleasant acquaintances. As they talk, some tell jokes causing laughter, others hug their familiar friends and still others touch their mouths while hearing pleasant memories.

I realize that I am watching everyone from a large stage, and as I glance around, I further realize that I know each and every one of them, all from various points of my journey through life. I see my mom and dad and my little brother. I see my best friend from when I was eight, and my grandmother who’s been dead since I was 14, and a close college friend of mine who died in a car accident right after we graduated, and there’s even a boy from soccer camp who I knew when I was 5. Everyone looks healthy and well and there is nothing odd about any of them being there. They are there for me. Each face fills me with a memory and there are only good memories to remember.

A light above me turns on and slowly everyone notices that I am there and turns towards me. Over a hundred eyes are suddenly all focused on me, and at first I can’t remember why I am there. I freeze for a moment fearing stage fright will take ahold of me, but before I can freak out I notice their eyes. Their eyes are all sparkling, recognizing me fondly and smiling up at me. Everyone is happy to see me and glad that I am finally there. I remember that I’m there to say something important: to give a big speech. I’m there to tell them all that I am gay. But my lips can’t remember how I was going to tell them…what I was going to say…

I open my mouth to speak but a sudden movement stops me. One person in the middle of the crowd has raised their glass to me in a toast. Then a second person raises theirs. Then another and another and soon everyone’s glass is raised. I realize that everyone already knows, and that it is all right. My eyes tear up from the overwhelming feeling of total acceptance. I know they are glad to see me right now, as I exist, exactly as I am. And suddenly I realize that I don’t actually have to say anything at all.

glassesRaised

And there is a glass in my hand. It was always there. So I raise it to them, to each of them for their role in my past, their role in my present; their role in making me who I am. I thank them with a nod, a smile and happy tears beginning to roll down my cheeks. And there, in a room filled with tolerance and compassion, time stands still and I feel complete.

There is no need for anyone to say anything, because we are all loved and that is enough.

And the warm lights shine down upon us…

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Breathing Methods

deep breatheFor closeted individuals, struggling with their sexuality can feel like a debilitating, full-time job that allows no room for any of life’s other problems. Unfortunately, Gentle Reader, life keeps coming at all of us whether we are busy with something else or not. When I was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 21, I had recently returned from a semester abroad experience where I had dated briefly and experienced really being gay for the first time. Part of my goal for the months following being abroad was to begin ‘coming out’ to my friends and family. Well, a month and a half later I was sick, and plans for ‘coming out’ were suddenly put on the back burner. Here is one piece of my cancer story, which was happening to me while I was closeted, and still learning how to breathe.

While battling my testicular cancer the doctors exposed me to many different drugs:  chemo drugs to hopefully kill the cancer, steroids to make sure I didn’t lose my appetite and anti-nausea drugs to make sure I didn’t lose my lunch. Each drug came packaged with their own smorgasbord of side effects. Some side effects were just annoying and inconvenient. Some attacked my self-confidence by causing acne and weight gain. Most were temporary, yet there was always the fear of scarier, longer-term side effects that could stay with me long after the cancer was gone. One particular chemo drug brought with it the possibility of long term negative affects on my lungs and my ability to breathe. As a result, one of the tests they exposed me to on my first day of inpatient chemo, was a test to pinpoint exactly what my lungs’ current air capacity was.

I remember they wheeled me, even though I was plenty capable of walking on my own two feet, into an oddly confined room, on the lowest level of the hospital, to meet with a respiratory specialist. A plumb, middle-aged woman with an awkward gait and an immediately welcoming smile appeared in front of me. I can no longer remember her name. But I remember her reassuring hand on my shoulder and her honest eye contact. I liked her immediately.

I remember her stepping to my right as she talked, and suddenly there was a large, egg shaped machine in front of me where she had once stood. In my memory now, it was the size of a compact, new-age, two person, smart car. It was beige with some almost artistically placed blue. She helped me into it and inside, in front of my face, there was what appeared to be a fighter pilot breathing mask hanging from a pretty serious number of tubes.

She politely explained how this machine would test my breathing and my lungs’ capacity to take in appropriate amounts of air. She mentioned that many people find the small confines of the machine to be uncomfortable and claustrophobia inducing.

She smiled and said, “This will be the easiest test you have here at the hospital. So no worries all right? All I need you to do is breathe. Just relax and do the most natural thing in the world to your body. Just breathe for me and it will be over before you know it. You will have to take deep breaths, long ones and short ones. I will tell you when to do each. But you may start to feel like you can’t breath any more and you know what I want you to do at that point?”

She actually stopped and looked at me. She wanted me to answer.

I shrugged my shoulders with a tiny smile. “I don’t know. Stop?” I asked.

“Just keep breathing.” She said with a wink and a smirk, then she cranked up the machine.

I remember that first test going smoothly, but my head was spinning from the journey that was still in front of me. Cancer is a pretty intimidating foe. My first meeting with this woman was so early on in that journey. There was still so much more discomfort, fear, thankfulness and relief yet to experience. At the time, she was just another doctor and it was just another test.

I would revisit this test and ‘the egg’ two more times during my cancer journey. A second time in the middle of chemo and a third time after my last cycle was complete. Each time she smiled in the same way, placed her hand gently on my shoulder and assured me that the test was easy because all I had to do was breathe. Just keep breathing.

stretching on the beachAs I would find myself to be in many ways when it came to my cancer, with my lungs, I was very lucky. My lungs remained strong and developed no harmful scars or long lasting negative results from the chemo.

And when my chemo was finally finished and I was home recovering, my parents had to bring me back to the hospital to see that woman one last time, to make sure that my lungs were definitely ok. When I saw her that last time I was still bald, still tired and still feeling crappy in general. At the time of this last visit I did not yet know that the cancer was actually dead, but I was hopeful and continued to smile. Especially with people who offered me support and kind words, as this woman always did.

At the end of this final test, as we were saying goodbye, she gave me a hug and wished me the best of luck in my journey ahead, as many doctors and nurses had before her. But she put her hand on my shoulder, as she had always done, looked me directly in my eyes and said,

“All of this was just a part of your life. Trust me, Honey, there’s lots of hard roads and wonderful roads in front of you and all the rest of us. You’re gonna be alright, Sweetie. It’s all the same as that egg and that test. Just keep breathing. One breath at a time and you will be fine.”.

“Just Keep Breathing”. Where truer words ever spoken?

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If you have any reason to suspect that you may be suffering from Testicular Cancer, please see a doctor immediately. Though self-diagnosis is always tempting, especially in today’s google hungry world, obtaining direct information and facts from a health care professional is always the best course of action. Don’t be embarrassed, this is your life we are talking about!
For anyone who is interested here is The American Cancer Society’s Informational Page on Testicular Cancer.

The Liebster Award

liebsterThe Liebster Award! How truly exalting! I had one of my most comment driven and exciting days as a blogger this past Sunday. It is very exciting to see that people are not only taking the time to read the posts I am creating, but also connecting with some of the words and ideas I’m putting out there. I truly thank you all for stopping by and giving this blog a chance.

As if all the traffic and conversations on Sunday weren’t enough, to top it all off I was nominated for a Liebster Award by not one but by two of my fellow WordPress bloggers! I am truly humbled and flattered by this recognition and honor. I love the Liebster Award for what it stands to accomplish. To recognize new bloggers who are just getting started and do not have a ton of readership, and furthermore to expand all of our scopes by presenting us with other blogs that we may have otherwise never heard of. It is a wonderful community building idea and I am excited to be a part of it.

As a recipient of this award there are a few rules I must follow…

The Rules of the Liebster Award

1.  Thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog.
2.  Answer the 10 questions given to you by the nominee before you.
3.  Nominate 10 of your favorite blogs with fewer than 200 followers and notify them of their nomination.
4.  Come up with 10 questions for your nominees to answer.

That being said, if it is all right with all of you, I am going to fudge the rules a little bit for me, not because I am ungrateful or pompous, but because as a very new blogger I don’t know 20 new blogs to nominate. Plus, having searched around the blogosphere a great deal in the last few days, I have seen many of my favorite blogs receiving their own Liebster Award recently. To prevent this from becoming a never ending loop of us all loving each other through recognition I’m going to simply combine my two greatly appreciated nominations into one blog post.

First things first, I was kindly nominated by a truly wonderful blogger and all around amicable chap over at “Confessions of a Irish Gay Guy”. If you have not yet had the pleasure of checking out his blog, please do yourself a favor and visit it. He brilliantly discusses topics ranging from the ups and downs of dating, to what it is like to be gay in Ireland and to what goes on in his mind and the minds of us other gays. My second nomination came from one of the first friends I met upon joining this blogosphere. I wish I could remember how I came across his blog, but I guess what is important is that I did. I mentioned him in a previous post and I hope that by now many of you have discovered his blog. I’m thankful, as always, for his continued support and I encourage you to check out “The Open Closet”. Once again, I thank both of these fine gentlemen for helping make my blogging experience even more fun.

Now onto the required questions. Copying a strategy I noticed of several other more experienced bloggers and fellow Liebster Award winners, I used paper, pencil and a baseball cap to randomly select 5 questions from each of my nominators. The first five of these questions are from “Confessions of a Irish Gay Guy” and 6 through 10 are from “The Open Closet”.

The Questions & My Answers:

1. What age were you when you had your first kiss?

I’m pretty sure the first girlfriend I ever had was my first kiss. I was 10 years old and in fifth grade. God that was a long time ago! Interestingly, she is now bisexual and recently lived with and was engaged to a woman. So how about that? I’m sure there is some hidden meaning about the effect we had on each other somewhere in there.

2. What disease would you cure if you had the power to cure one disease?

This question is very difficult to answer. There are so many awful diseases in the world that I would love the ability to eradicate. But I am a Testicular Cancer survivor. I was diagnosed when I was 21. I had two surgeries and chemotherapy before being place in remission. In December of 2013 I celebrated 10 years of being in remission, which made me extremely proud and hopeful for better things to come. So, Gentle Reader, I guess, due to my personal journey, I would have to pick cancer, of all types, as the disease I wish I had the power to cure.

3. Where in the world, other than where you are now would you most like to live?

Interesting question because I no longer want to be living where I am currently living. So in most ways the phrase “Anywhere But Here” applies. But if I had to pick one place right now it would be San Francisco. With a very close second runner up for London, England. I studied abroad in London in college and I miss it.

4. Which celebrity would most likely be your best friend, if you were famous?

Jennifer Lawrence. I like her whole demeanor and attitude. Plus, she looks fun and not yet jaded from Hollywood.

5. What food do you detest beyond belief and why?

Two foods of similar textures answer this question. I dislike both equally. Onions and Coconut. I hate them in and on my food and I dislike any foods that have a strong hint of either’s taste. And I hate coconut rum. Hate it.

6. What is your favorite film, and /or movie genre?

Horror Movies!!! I love them! Have loved them since I was young. A good horror movie, with an actual message and purpose, can be full of rich symbolism, creepy visuals and attractive actors. What more can you ask for?

7. Using 10 words or less, how would you describe yourself?

Hopeful, Artistic, Smiling, Thoughtful, Scared, Optimistic, Worried, Gentle, Sympathetic, Humorous

8. If you could dine with a famous person, either dead or alive, who would it be, and why?

Roger Ebert. I was so sad when he passed away last year. I used to read his movie reviews religiously every Friday afternoon. 8 times out of 10 I completely agreed with his thoughts on a movie. He loved and respected films so much and was interesting as hell. I would have so many questions to pick his brain with it would have to be a long dinner.

9. If your life was made into a movie, who would play you in the film, and why?

This is a tough one. Not that I look like him, trust me, but I’m gonna go with Tom Welling. I love Superman. And we both have blue eyes. It couldn’t hurt to add a chiseled jaw to my life story. 🙂 Or maybe I would rather have Justin Timberlake, now that he does acting…

10. Why did you start writing your blog?

I’ve touched upon this a few times throughout my blog. I created this blog in January 2011 because I was closeted, gay and terrified about coming out to my parents and everyone else. But, life got in the way and I fell away from blogging. I think hitting my 10 year cancer remission anniversary really made me want to make a change. I need to find a creative job and a creative outlet. And there are things about myself that I need to express still. So I started this thing back up, right after the New Year. And here we are.

Now, before my nominations I have to apologize if I nominated anyone who already recently received a nomination from someone else. I tried to avoid this. For the last few weeks I’ve been scouring the blogosphere for blogs I wanted to connect with through my WordPress reader, through links from one blog to the next and through suggestions from bloggers I admire. My brain is buzzing so much from this searching, from reading articles, from learning about blogging through the Zero to Hero challenge and from writing and maintaining my new blog, that it is amazing I know what day it is. Anyway, the blogs I’ve chosen below are written by authors I feel have something important and unique to say. Most of these blogs are just starting out. I think your day would benefit from giving them a chance. And I thank these bloggers for producing such quality content.

blogsThe 10 blogs I would like to nominate:

1. Closet Black Male

2. mygaybody

3. Gay. Geek. Dad.

4. aaron’s random musings

5. WHEN I SHOWER

6. Christian Mihai

7. The Geezer Gabs

8. Persuasion of Individuality (no longer active)

9. Homosexuality in Islam

10. BOYS LIKE ME

Finally, here are the 10 questions I created for my nominees to answer. (I hope they like them) 🙂

1. If you could have any superpower what would it be?

2. If you could kiss/make out with one celebrity, who would it be?

3. What song should be your life’s anthem?

4. What is the best gift you ever received?

5. What is your dream job?

6. What do you miss the most about being a kid?

7. What is the last movie or TV show that made you cry?

8. What was an experience that made you a stronger person?

9. What is a pet peeve that you can not stand?

10. What is your favorite day of the year and why?

Sorry it took me so long to get this post completed. This was a long and challenging task, but fun!

In Search of a Gay Film Review – Weekend (2011)

weekend-movie-poster

Here it is, Gentle Reader, my first movie review. As a lover of movies and analysis, please, I welcome your feedback. So without further ado, today I would like to discuss the 2011 film Weekend. Weekend is a film about two gay men who find each other through a one night stand, but are soon surprised by their instant connection and by what this connection helps them learn about themselves.

The film is written, edited and directed by Andrew Haigh, who I am sure is about to become a lot more famous for his directing and writing on HBO’s series Looking. (If you are interested, you can find my review of the series Looking here) Weekend stars Tom Cullen as Russell and Chris New as Glen, each superb in their role. Weekend had its world premiere in March 2011 and has since gone on to acquire much critical acclaim, including several award nominations and wins for the film’s director and actors.

If you have not yet seen this film, I strongly recommend it. Its performances are wonderful, the plot is heartfelt and the emotion is relatable. It should be warned that this review does contain some spoilers so beware. Below are my thoughts, for better or worse.

weekend tapesSetting the Scene:

We begin the film by watching Russell bathe, dress and attend a party at his straight friend Jamie’s house. While at the party Russell appears to be disconnect and lonely; distracted and wanting to be somewhere else. He makes an excuse to leave early, ends up at a gay club and eventually meets Glen.

Jump to the next morning, where instead of awkwardly and quickly parting ways, like the end of many gay one night stands, the two men do something rather unusual: they talk about their hookup. Glen, an artist, is working on a project where he tape records people talking about sex, life, etc. and he begins to tape Russell. This rare, morning after reflection on the time they spent together leads both characters down a road of self-reflection that neither saw coming.

Sit Back and Observe:

This film has very few edited cuts within scenes. We, the audience, watch the characters talk, eat, walk and lie in bed for lengthy, uninterrupted shots. These lengthy shots place us as silent observers sitting in Russell’s apartment or the bar simply watching them interact across this three-day affair. All of this creates a calm, real-time feel to their interactions filled with dialogue that feels more like improvisation than pre-written words (It has been noted by the director in interviews that much of the film ended up being improvised by the two leads). The film doesn’t even have background music for setting tones and moods. The only music we ever hear is situational, like at the club.  

russellRussell – The Quiet One:

Russell is more of a watcher than a talker. Mostly he seems lonely, set apart from the world around him and a little sad. His world is quiet, boring and mundane. At one point I found myself wondering, “Do I have as much silence in my life as Russell does?”.

I enjoyed the insecurities he displayed because they were relatable. I could find myself in his awkwardness and shyness, especially in relation to his budding sexuality. He is not necessarily closeted, but he is still ‘trying on’ being gay, like a new suit. He’s still stiff and afraid that he’s not wearing it right. Straight people mostly surround him, and we can feel him longing for a gay outlet.

glenGlen – Not So Quiet:

Glen is the opposite of Russell. He is spontaneous and loud; very outspoken and confident in his sexuality.  Gay people surround him in his daily life, and although his gay friends can annoy him, he seems mostly happy to have the gay company. Glen, like Russell, is searching for meaning and something better in life.  He wants to escape his current location and has plans to move to Oregon in two days. Glen wants to create a new version of himself so he will feel free and not get stuck in ‘old friend concrete’.

Repetition Leads to Change:

This film uses repetition, with slight variance, to display character arches.  Glen leaves Russell’s apartment three times in the film. Each time Russell stands at his window and watches Glen far below as he walks away. The first time Glen simply walks away. The second time Glen looks back as he walks, showing he is thinking about Russell. As Glen walks away the last time, he moves noticeably slower and at one point completely stops and turns around to look back at Russell’s window before he continues on. The variance is subtle but effective in conveying how the characters’ connection is growing.

One final act of repetition worth noting: At the beginning of the film Russell brings Glen coffee as he wakes up, then towards the end of the film, in an almost identically shot scene, Glen brings Russell coffee in bed. This may seem too slight, but it shows their time together has come full circle.

togetherGay in a Straight World:

Weekend opens an important discussion about what it is like to be a minority, homosexual man in a majority, heterosexual world. After their first night together, Glen and Russell hesitate and end up not hugging or kissing as they say goodbye in Russell’s hallway. A straight couple is hovering nearby and the two gays censor themselves because of this.

At several points in the film, Glen verbalizes his frustrations with gay censorship in a straight world. Below is one such expression…

Glen: “Gay people never talk about it ‘sex’ in public unless its just cheap innuendo. I think it’s cause they’re ashamed.”

Russell: “Maybe it’s just they’re a little bit embarrassed.”

Glen: “Isn’t that the same thing?”

This movie raises the question, “How much do straights repress gays and how much do we repress ourselves?”. Regardless, different people react differently in the face of repression. Glen responds by constantly yelling his gayness and individual rights at the world, trying to shock straight people with his voice. Conversely, Russell turns inward, becoming quiet and respectful, not wanting to make himself or straight people feel uncomfortable. At one point in the film, as Russell and Glen are walking around the city talking and flirting, I did find myself wishing they would hold hands.

My Favorite Moment:

After their second night together, Russell and Glen discuss the act of ‘coming out’ to parents. Russell keeps a journal dictating people’s coming out stories as told to him by various gay men he has come across. As an orphan Russell never came out to his biological parents, and Glen thinks that Russell collects other people’s ‘parent’ coming out stories since he does not have one of his own. In a moment that at first feels silly, Glen pretends to be Russell’s dad and Russell tells him he is gay. I was so moved by Glen’s reaction that I would rather show it to you than describe it.

Love Yourself First:

Perhaps this is Weekend’s real message. Russell and Glen seem perfect together, but neither seems completely ready to give themselves fully to someone else. Both characters need to learn to love and accept themselves more fully before they will ever be able to fully love and accept someone else. Love Yourself. A theme that keeps presenting itself in this blog, and I guess in life for anyone who is truly paying attention. Who knows, perhaps after a few years, Glen will return to Russell and they will finally be able to complete each other. We should all be so lucky.

weekend kiss

To learn more about Weekend please check out its page at IMDB or it’s spot at Wikipedia.

Inspiration from my Gay Brothers

inspireIn my post today I would like to take a moment to talk about inspiration. Specifically, the inspiration I have found through two wonderful gay bloggers and their written words. In the brief time I have been back in the blogosphere I have been making a valiant effort to search around and expand my horizons by reading other people’s blogs, making sure to leave comments, and intentionally trying to make friends. I must say that, this time around, my blogging experience has been made that much richer by these connections.

I would like to place my ‘In Search of Adam’ spotlight on two bloggers in particular and give them much earned recognition. I also want to take a moment to explain why they inspire me and why I continue to visit their blogs.

That’s So Gay – light hearted truth

If you are looking for a place to get daily updates on what is happening with gay culture in the U.S. and around the world, then ‘That’s So Gay’ is a great place to visit. Not only are the posts relevant, well written and informative, but they are infused with humor at all the right times. I enjoy my time spent at this blog because not only do I learn something on each visit, but I leave feeling genuinely entertained by someone who feels like a friend. This blog inspires me to become more educated about a community that I proudly find myself a part of.

The Open Closet: Letters From A Gay Man
 – genuine honesty

‘The Open Closet’ is a blog filled with an easy to read voice and sincere heart behind every word. It is a personal blog depicting one gay man’s thoughts on topics ranging from ‘coming out’, to love, to trying to force yourself to ‘man up’. I love this blog because of how completely its author bares his soul to us. His stories are detailed, honest and simply there for others to learn from and relate to. He kindly invites you to travel along his journey with him, and somehow accomplishes to sound gentle and strong at the same time. As a person who has experienced many of the same types of struggles, I find that his stories make me feel safe. This blog inspires me to believe that things are going to be all right. I admire this blogger’s strength.

When I originally started this blog back in 2011 it was much harder to find other blogs written by gay men or women. It amazes me that in just three years this has changed so drastically. Granted, WordPress has made some wonderful advancement in how their site is set up and that makes it much easier for all of us to connect. The Reader, for instance, was new to me this time around and I find it to be amazingly useful.

gay reading

Some Good Gay Reading

Since so many people are still struggling to ‘come out’ and love themselves, it really is inspiring to read about others in this world who have experienced similar struggles and successes and that care about similar issues and current events. Because of these things, my blogging experience is becoming an ever more fulfilling and healing process. There are so many amazing people out there baring their souls for all of us to learn from and connect with.

Keeping in the spirit of this post, here are a few more blogs I have come across whose authors are fun, interesting and who honestly talk about their lives while proving that being GAY in today’s world is normal and, for lack of a better word, fabulous.

A Queer Notion – television & film reviews from a sapiosexual
Normal Is What You Know – humor & seriousness mixed
Check them out, Gentle Reader. They deserve a look.

Google & Gay CrossFitter

photo compliments of crossfitduration.com

photo compliments of crossfitduration.com

I am a gay man who does CrossFit. And as such, I have, many times in the past, googled the words ‘Gay CrossFitter’ as a means of connecting with others like me. If you, Gentle Reader, Google the words ‘Gay CrossFitter’ you will find that most of the search results are fairly bleak. Most of the resulting links are people expressing their distaste for CrossFit in forum posts or online articles. The reason that this search yields mostly negative reviews has to do with our society’s still lingering rhetoric in which the word gay means ‘something negative or bad’. Most of these obviously extremely educated and progressive CrossFit haters (extreme sarcasm), in reality, have had little if no actual exposure to CrossFitters or the CrossFit lifestyle. In this way, being a CrossFitter is a lot like being Gay. Being a gay man and an active CrossFitter I cannot help but to find this comparison interesting.

As this blog has attested, I am newly ‘Out’. By newly I mean I came out to my parents a little over two years ago and am at the point where all of my close friends know I am gay and I no longer hide this fact from the rest of the world. For me, it was a long journey to break out of my closet and finally be comfortable enough to call myself a gay man. To be honest, CrossFit helped me along on this journey quite significantly. My CrossFit family/box were some of the first people, who I actively see on a daily basis, which I shared the truth of my sexuality with. They all offered me such support and love and, most importantly, made me being gay such a non-issue, that I was able to feel that much more normal and validated in my journey. This amazing sense of community is something that all CrossFitters understand from their boxes.

For me, CrossFit has been a constant exercise in overcoming obstacles. I did not grow up an athlete and never felt very comfortable with physical activity. I’m tall and always felt awkward and slightly clumsy. I never knew the mental satisfaction of confidently performing difficult lifting routines or the joy of knowing that you control your body and are strong enough to make it perform difficult tasks that others may look at and think ‘no way in hell I’m doing that’. CrossFit helped me gain this confidence not only in my body, but in myself. It helped me realize that if I could overcome our terrifying WODs, if I could overcome that fear, and if I could see myself as a truly strong person inside and out, then there was no reason why I could not overcome the fear of being gay. There was no reason that I should not feel as equally satisfied in my life outside of CrossFit.

I do not mean to simplify the ‘Coming Out’ process. As I have stated in other posts, it was personally a long road for me. And this road to understanding who I am as a gay man is one that I am still walking and learning from every day. But one of the things that CrossFit continues to teach me is that we all have the ability to surprise ourselves and be proud of ourselves each and every day. That is something worth writing about. And now, perhaps the world is ready for a blog that, if found through a Google search of the words ‘Gay CrossFitter’, provides the searcher with something positive to read that properly links these two words together. After all, stating “I am gay” or “I do CrossFit” should both be statements to fill you with pride. Don’t you agree?

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For anyone interested in finding out more about CrossFit, CrossFit.com is a great place to start.

Love Yourself

Love Yourself

Love Yourself. Now that is an important message. When someone feels suffocated and trapped in the closet, remembering to love themselves can be much easier said than done. Today, I’m going to break my norm, construct a smaller post, and try to focus on some positive quotes and multimedia that I know anyone struggling at being closeted can benefit from. So, Gentle Reader, have you told yourself, “I love you.” today?

Self-love, my liege, is not so vile a sin, as self-neglecting.
~William Shakespeare, Henry V.

I am currently on the difficult journey of learning to love myself more and more every day. This feat involves focusing on the present moment. While I am proud of what I have accomplished in my past, I need to remind myself to not dwell on the past or more importantly  on any mistakes I may have made there. See, I have a bad habit of beating myself up for past mistakes. Which is not helpful. Learn from your mistakes and move forward.

Whatever you are doing, love yourself for doing it. Whatever you are feeling, love yourself for feeling it.  ~Thaddeus Golas

Learning to love myself also involves making an active attempt to be nicer to myself in my head, and to try to stop the negative self talk. Now this is not a simple thing to do. Especially since I have been in the habit of internally and negatively bashing myself for quite some time now. I need to let myself off the hook for this as well, and move on. Each day now I am trying to give myself credit for all the positives I accomplished that day, while gently urging myself to always strive for better.

You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love & affection.  ~Buddha

I am constantly amazed at how film and television can remind me to practice self-love. I’m not sure if you are a fan of Glee, but I am. Though it can be flawed at times, overall the show makes me happy. I love watching people sing and dance, so Glee fulfills both of these personal interests quite nicely in every episode. I also have a slight crush on Jake Puckerman, played by the adorable Jacob Artist.

Below I have posted a YouTube video of one of my favorite Jake Puckerman performances. Its song, ‘Let Me Love You’, was originally sung by Ne-Yo, and it always gives me chills. I include it here because what a beautiful concept it addresses. It’s something we all want. Someone to love us until we learn to fully love ourselves. Truly Beautiful. (sorry about the Spanish subtitles)

I hope you found this post to be helpful. Especially if you find yourself attempting to come out of the closet. Please, take a moment right now to remember that your existence is important. You are important. There is literally no one else exactly like you on this planet. You bring a color and a life to this world that exists for a reason. You deserve love. You deserve to love yourself.

And with that, Gentle Reader, I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes by a true genius: Dr. Seuss.

Be Well.

Love Yourself Dr. Seuss