Rainbow Colored Resolutions

rainbow new yearWelcome, Gentle Reader! I send you the sincerest of wishes for a Happy and Hope-Filled New Year! It was 12 months ago that I felt called to return to this blog and continue to write about my experiences of being a gay man and with coming out of my closet. Though my blogging has been sporadic, it has been therapeutic and wonderfully fulfilling. I’ve met some amazing people, many of them fellow bloggers, and now I truly feel less alone on my journey towards understanding and self-acceptance. I can’t express in words how much that has meant to me, and continues to mean to me.

Exploring myself through these posts over the last year has been such an amazing way to revisit my fears, my successes, and my lessons related to my coming out process. I cannot claim to know what 2015 will hold in store for this blog and for me, but I am hopeful and optimistic. And, as I have mentioned many times before, Gentle Reader, feeling Hope is very important. In today’s post I would like to share with you my resolutions for the New Year.

resolutionsAdam Resolution #1: Feel less Isolated and Lonely.

In many ways for me, 2014 was the year of my blog. As 2013 came to a close, I was feeling creatively stifled and trapped in my predominately straight world. I had verbally stated to everyone in my everyday life that I was gay, but I was still ‘In Search’ of what that meant to me inside. I wanted to start really talking about it. I hit the ground running on January 1st by exploring ‘how to become a better blogger’ and by writing my first new post on this blog. The rest, as they say, is history.

Now, as December 2014 was coming to a close I found myself looking back at what I did for the past 12 months. I concluded, other than writing for my blog (which trust me, my process for writing my long and researched blog posts is lengthy :-)), I didn’t do a whole hell of a lot. I am thrilled to be able to say I put significant time into this blog. It is worthwhile and I love it. But what else did I do in 2014?

Let’s see: I worked at a job that I don’t hate but I certainly don’t love, I read only 4 books, was a groomsman in two weddings (processes unfortunately more torturous than fun), and watched a lot of movies and television. When I try to think of events and moments that stand out from the year… I can’t. I am drawing an almost complete blank on what I did to better myself in 2014 other than blogging.

When I really think about it, I spent a significant amount of 2014 alone at my house. Now there is nothing wrong with alone time. I find it very comforting and helpful in my development process as an individual. But in 2015 I want more interactions with people. I want to continue blogging, but I also want to better myself through some more socially centered processes as well. It’s time to take living outside the walls of my house.

gay flags friendsAdam Resolution #2: Have a little more Gay in my life.

Specifically, I want to have more interactions with other gay people.

In 2014 I talked a lot about being gay. In 2015 I would like to continue to talk about it, while also doing a little more ‘gay’ living as well. Does that make sense?

I want to really own being a gay man this year. I want to feel more empowered in my role as a member of this gay community. Maybe even start dating…god forbid. It would be nice to find a special someone who thinks about me first when he wakes up in the morning and smiles when he pictures my face. It’s time to gay up my daily activities a little.

man's back2Adam Resolution #3: Start living in my body again.

In 2013 I was an active and enthusiastic member of a CrossFit box. I was working out multiple times a week and loving it. In 2014 this ended. There are multiple reasons behind its ending, none of which are relevant to this post, but as a result I spent most of 2014 over-eating, not exercising and sitting on my ass.

I know that this lack of physicality affected my overall mood and movability in 2014. Losing my CrossFit friends definitely lead me to feel more alone and somewhat sad. But this lack of movement also made me feel like my body wasn’t mine. It feels stagnant, lumpy and foreign.

It’s time to take my body back in 2015. I know that every one and their brother make a resolution to eat right and work out more in the new year. That is not what I am professing to do. I will be exercising alone, without my CrossFit box, and in some ways this will make the process harder, but I feel drawn to doing it alone at this moment.

I think there is something to be learned in picking my chubbier, less coordinated body up, brushing it off, and reclaiming it solo. Doing it on my own terms. I know it won’t be easy, but at least my body will be proud of me for starting to move.

Film SchoolAdam Resolution #4: Film School & My Future.

I’m currently working two jobs to save up money. I have three monetary goals in 2015. To reduce my debt, save up to finally move out of my parent’s house, and get accepted into a local film program while paying for it with cash. The film classes will start in September. To get accepted into the program I will have to apply in the spring. It’s a long shot with a lot of hard work, but it is so nice to be moving towards a goal that I want again.

One of the things I did accomplish in 2014 was to spend time thinking and contemplating my future. It may not look like much in the physical realm, but for me, these thought processes are real and necessary, and may be the driving force behind why my 2015 will be better and brighter. Happy New Year, Gentle Reader. Let’s make it one to remember!

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In Search of What My Readers Want

thanks_729-620x349I want to extend a sincere thank you to all of my In Search of Adam readers. I thank anyone who has ever taken the time to read my words and have any internal response to my message. I especially thank the loyal readers who frequent my blog and who are traveling along this journey with me. And for those of you who have ever been moved enough to take the time to ‘like’ a post, leave a comment, or send me a personal email, your feedback drives me, inspires me and helps me feel less alone. I sincerely thank you all. These interactions have not only made blogging more fulfilling, but they’ve also filled me with the energy and excitement necessary to keep writing more!

In addition to thanking my wonderful readers, I wanted to stray from my normal post format to present you with 3 polls I have carefully created. The purpose of these polls is to give me, the blogger, a better understanding of what you, the reader, have liked so far. Also, these can help me pinpoint what you are interested in seeing more of in the future. If I am not holding your interest and providing you with topics that seem relevant and/or helpful to you, then my blog will ultimately fail in its purpose.

In the polls below, you are able to choose more than one answer and you have the option to type in your own customized answer thus giving me a more personalized look into your interests. You can only vote once though, so choose wisely. After you have voted you will be able to review a tally of the results thus far. This way, if you are interested, you can see how other readers have answered.

Please have fun with these polls! Take a moment to express yourself and I promise to take your thoughts and desires into account. I once again thank you for your ongoing support and for your continued valuable feedback.

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Cautious Connecting

online-romanceOne of my true passions in life is connecting with people. It’s been something that has filled me with excitement and intrigue since as far back as I can remember. People are fascinating. Everyone has their own story, their own successes, tragedies, obstacles and loves. How can people not fascinate you? When I revived my blog this past January the connections I began to make, through my readers and other blogs, thrilled me more than words can express. Through blogging, the entire world feels like it is at your fingertips. I became intoxicated with it for my first month back.

Then something a little creepy happened. I met a blogger through comments he began leaving on my blog in response to my posts. He was gay, charming, well spoken and seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say. At the time, he also had a blog. I began reading his as well and we would comment back and forth on each other’s posts. Eventually we began emailing through our private emails. Here he was even more encouraging and pleasant. He was so congratulatory of my writing. He really made me feel validated in my decision to become a blogger. I really thought he was great.

The conversation did get a little flirty. Though he lived a far drive away, he began expressing interest in meeting up sometime.

Then, he asked for a picture of me. I replied with one in an email and I asked for one of his in return. He shared a total of three pictures of himself with me. It became very obvious very quickly that these were three pictures of three different people. This was so blaringly obvious that it was somewhat comical. This confused me. He had always seemed so open and honest with me about his life and feelings up until that point. Why would he lie about what he looked like? I politely inquired about these pictures in a follow-up email, which made me nervous because I did not want to insult him. Well, needless to say it did not go well.

strangerHe became reproachful to my questions. He was insulted by any insinuation that he would send false pictures. Suddenly, everything he said began to seem shady and like it made no sense. He even tried acting naïve by asking me, “Do people really do that? Share fake pictures of themselves?” Um…this is the Internet, of course they do. He suddenly tried to come across as ignorant of the web, even claiming that he is awful at taking selfies so he has very few, and could get me no others. This man who, only the day before, had seemed so learned about blogging and online communication had suddenly become a 95-year-old man confused by technology.

He disappeared shortly after the picture debacle, coincidentally becoming very busy at that point and unable to email any more. Interestingly enough, he has since tried to reconnect twice, each time seeming to have forgotten about this picture situation. He claims to be oddly forgetful about why we stopped talking, which in my opinion, either implies some legitimate memory issue or some noteworthy craziness. In the end, I view him to be a liar. I feel a gut instinct to distance myself from him.

This experience took somewhat of an emotional toll on me. I felt stupid for having opened up to a stranger so quickly. Did I invite, what could have developed into an unsafe situation by being too open too quickly with my personal information? Worse so, the blogging world felt somewhat dirty to me after this. My positive experience with my blog became slightly tainted and I felt a little violated. Not to mention, I began to feel slightly unsafe in this online community. Was I too naïve to meet people in this way online? Should I be less trusting and more guarded from here on out? Can we ever truly know who another person is online? I was honestly surprised by how much this had affected me.

This one particular experience, combined with some personal stuff in my everyday life, lead to me stepping away from blogging for a brief hiatus from March through June of 2014. Looking back, the break was probably a good thing: a good way to clear my head about blogging and my approach to it.

Moving forward, Gentle Reader, today I feel stronger and better equipped, not only as a writer, but also as an online conversationalist. I find my blog readers to be an extended and very caring family. Though this entire experience did remind me of a children’s book I remember my parents reading to me as a child. It was called Never Talk to Strangers and was written by Irma Joyce. In blogging I wouldn’t say never talk to strangers, but I would say cautiously talk to strangers.

never1Still this is a good lesson for us all. Be careful with your personal information online. Be trusting enough to make meaningful connections, but not so aimlessly trusting that you place yourself in any compromising or dangerous situations. The Internet, like anything else where mankind is involved, can be a tool for kindness and creation or for harm and destruction.

Please know that I am still passionate about worthwhile connections online. It’s these constructive friendships that make us stronger, so that we are not harmed by the would-be devils. I still encourage the connections. Just be cautious, as well as open, in them.

Anonymity: Friend or Foe?

facelessI originally started this blog as a closeted gay man. It’s initial purpose was to talk about being closeted in the hopes that the self-reflection would eventually help me come out, and also that I might be fortunate enough to meet other gay men who would help me in my journey. At the time, I did not share my blog’s URL, or its existence, with any of my friends and family. This anonymity allowed me to speak my truth free from self-censorship. If I knew that people in my life were reading my intimate gay thoughts, if they were reading about things I am ashamed of and learning about my fears and insecurities, then I would be afraid of their judgment and their disapproval. So I directed my voice towards people who knew nothing about me and who were getting to know me for the first time through my posts. I suppose that sometimes opening up to complete strangers is easier than opening up to those who know us best.

Three and a half years later, not much has changed. To date, I have only given my blog’s URL to two of my friends. And I have very briefly discussed it with my parents. In fact, yesterday I let my mother see my blog for the first time. I let her read my post ‘My Love Affair with Peter Parker’ because she knows how much I love Spiderman and she has recently been very interested in my writing. So, otherwise, my blog is still mostly invisible to everyone in my daily life.

Today, my blog exists as much to help others who are coming to terms with being gay as it does for my internal processing and self-reflection. But in order for me to help people with my blog, they have to know that my blog exists. So I must draw traffic to my blog. Enter social media and… Facebook.

For some time now I have struggled with presenting my blog on my personal Facebook profile. This would immediately expose a wider audience to my message and thoughts. But although I do not hide the fact that I am gay from anyone, not hiding is very different from posting in-depth articles about the fact that I am gay for everyone in my life to see.

Internally, I am back and forth with this issue. “To Facebook Post, or Not To Facebook Post…” one could say. Part of me does not feel that my over 700 Facebook friends deserve to know the intimate details of my life. They don’t deserve a front row seat to an analysis of my soul. Even the ones I’m close to don’t deserve to know me in that way. What does that say about me? What does that say about my friends?

AnonymityIn our blogs where we write about personal feelings, desires and experiences, are we more comfortable remaining a faceless, anonymous voice meant only for strangers? Are our blogs meant only to provide people we have never met with our deeper truths, and not our friends and family? Do blogs that begin in anonymity due to fear and self-preservation eventually need to pull back the curtain due to increased pride and the inevitable need for courageous self-declaration? Is my message in any way diminished if my Aunt Ethel finally finds out that I sleep with other boys instead of pretty girls? Or is it just fear, once again, holding us back from evolving into all that we can truly become? Am I keeping my blog about ‘coming out’ in the closet?

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This fascinating conundrum was recently brought to the forefront of my mind by a truly honest post on a new friend’s blog. Check him out some time at Aaron In Wanderlust. And if you are curious about his post that got me thinking, it was titled ‘The Self-Censored Blogger’.

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!

My Triumphant Return & Day 1 of Zero to Hero

Time is out of reachTime is truly an amazing thing. It passes so quickly. It slips through our fingers like water from a faucet.

In my short time as a blogger, blogging has helped to reinforce how easily time can get away from me. Take this particular blog for instance. I remember when I decided to start it, I remember developing the concept and the hopes I had for it. I remember my first post (which took me forever to write, then edit and then publish). I remember all of this like it was yesterday. This was January 2011. A few blinks, breaths, a quick turn around and here I am three years in the future; my best intentions for this blog seem to have failed and only three posts smile back at me with sad eyes begging, “Are you coming back yet? We are lonely. Finish what you started please!”

Of course the story of the abandoned blog is in no way a rare or singular tale. To be fair to myself, I have accomplished a lot in the last three years and I remember it all. But it’s still a little creepy isn’t it? When I reflect on the beginning of this blog, when I stare at its underdeveloped body of work, I can’t help but to be freaked out by the fleetingness of time and my ability to lose focus of my goals so easily and so completely.

I’ve been meaning to get back here for quite some time. I was drawn to WordPress today to try to refocus and I happened to stumble upon this ‘Zero to Hero’ blogging challenge/tool. And though I initially gave birth to my blog three years ago, I feel very comfortable with using these provided assignments to help breathe live back into my neglected but well-intentioned baby. So, I thank this team of WordPress blogging experts very much, and I move forward, keeping my head held high and letting go of any negative disappointment I feel towards myself for these last three years of neglect.

The first ‘Zero to Hero’ assignment is to create a ‘who I am and why I am here post’. For me, this answer is a two-parter:

First, when I started the ‘In Search of Adam’ blog I WAS a 28-year-old closeted gay man. I was terrified; floating alone in a boat, in a huge endless ocean of confusion and worry, with no sail or paddles to help me steer. This may sound majorly dramatic, but I know from experience that this analogy is quite accurate. I created this blog to help me focus my thoughts and alleviate my fears so that I could eventually ‘come out’. I was also attempting to let other closeted people know that they were not alone. And I was hoping that by explaining my fears of ‘coming out’, in great detail, someone would magically give me advice that would suddenly make it easy to accept being gay.

Secondly, TODAY I am an ‘Out’ Gay 31 year old man. It is difficult to express in words how wonderful it feels to be able to type ‘out gay man’. There are many details I could, and many that I will, explain. But the long and short of it is that I am free of my closet and can finally breathe when it comes to my sexuality. I found my boat’s sail and now strongly grasp my oars. Though the waters can still be rough and scary, I finally feel like I am starting to steer my own life.

Keep Moving Forward

So, moving forward, I hope to accomplish a few things with this blog.

  1. Continue to discuss what being closeted felt like, mostly because I still have a few posts that I wrote 3 years ago but never published.
  2. Discuss my personal ‘coming out’ process; the ups, downs and lessons I learned.
  3. I would like to write about, and hopefully educate others and myself on, gay history. It’s important to understand the struggles of days past.
  4. I would like to discuss current gay events and happenings in the world.
  5. I would also like to discuss films. I really enjoy writing movie reviews.
  6. Plus, I will probably talk about my daily personal life (like my new years resolutions) if anyone cares to listen.
  7. Perhaps most importantly, I hope to connect with some of you reading these words and maybe make some new friends.

I should warn the reader that I expect this blog to have a very gay voice, which I find to be refreshing and honest (after so many years in the closet) and I hope you do too. I thank you for taking the time to read this long post.

Moving into 2014 I hope that I can stick with this blog more long term and that it can help me grow as a person. I once again find myself in a period of personal reinvention. I’m job searching again, looking to relocate to a new place and hoping to actually start dating this year. I hope that this blog can be a tool to help others and hopefully me. I wish us all the best, Gentle Reader.