Versions of Adam

overlapping faces

Drawing by artist Angie H. Iver

I’ve been thinking about different versions of myself lately.

Our lives and memories are made up of so many moments, so many images of ourselves that stand out, so many versions of who we have been.

I’ve been thinking about a version of Adam pictured in a polaroid hanging on a wall in my parents’ basement. In it, Adam is four years old and he’s wearing a light blue hospital hat and mask. His parents brought them home from the hospital along with his new baby brother. Most of his face is covered but you can tell he is smiling. His large smile shows even behind the mask. He looks happy, safe and loved.

I’ve been thinking about a version of Adam right after his third round of chemo. In this time period it was a Monday and he had made plans to meet some college friends for dinner that Wednesday. It was to be a much needed escape from his cancer reality. But he found out that Monday morning that the reason his tailbone had been hurting so much was that he had developed some odd viral cyst back there. In a completely healthy 21-year-old the virus would have been easily warded off with no symptoms. But his white blood cell count was too low and the unlucky combination caused havoc. He was in pain. He didn’t know if his cancer was gone yet. And he had to cancel the Wednesday plans with his friends because he wasn’t healthy enough to be around germ-covered people. In this version of Adam in my memory he just finished slamming a kitchen utensil off the kitchen counter, nicking it in his rage, and was now laying in a sideways ball on the floor crying because his tailbone hurt too much to sit on the floor. He feels defeated and absolutely terrified.

I’ve been thinking about a version of Adam from yesterday. He is in the middle of a lunch rush at a busy family diner where he waiters. He has just walked into the dishwashing room to sort out several dirty dishes, spoons and cups before heading out to take his sixth table’s order. He is tired, his knees hurt, he feels frustrated and wants to go home. He can’t escape this hatred towards himself for leading his life in this direction. For making decisions that placed him here in this moment, when so many other moments could have been better. He feels like he failed. Like he is failing. He has to go back out there and see what the annoying lady in the red shirt and her awful husband want for lunch. And then he has to serve it to them, put up with their attitudes, and mix them milkshakes at the end for desert just so they can leave him a shitty $3.00 tip and he can feel like a failure. This version of Adam is sad.

many faces

Artwork by Felipe Fox

There is a version of Adam on his first day of college. The sun is shining on his face on this perfect day. He is so awake. So excited. So hopeful. So ready to meet new people. To make new friends.

There is a version of Adam in his boxers in the dorm room of his first boy hookup in college. He’s smiling. He just finished kissing the boy who has adorable brown hair and killer blue eyes. He is nervous and excited. His stomach has butterflies in it.

There is a version of Adam laughing so hard with friends in college that he has tears running down his face.

There is a version of Adam who feels so exhausted during a CrossFit workout, but proud of himself just for being there. For pushing himself.

There is a version of Adam at a 19-year-old fraternity brother’s funeral staring into the casket thinking how unfair this is, and how alive his friend’s body still looks, and that the funeral home styled his friend’s hair completely wrong.

There is a version of Adam playing Monopoly with a childhood friend.

And another version of Adam swinging so high on a playground swing that his stomach is flipping.

There is a version of Adam stepping off of a plane in London, England.

And another version of Adam holding his new puppy for the first time.

Then there is this version of Adam right now. At this very second typing this post with tears in his eyes.

I don’t know who this version of Adam is yet.

In some ways, I understand every version of Adam I listed, except this last one.

I’m not sure what to do with him next…

What version of Adam do I want to be tomorrow when I wake up?

mirror and faces

A Letter to My Closeted Brothers and Sisters

letter to my gay brothers and sistersHello My Dear Friends,

I hope this correspondence finds you doing well. I hope that the sun is shining on your face and the wind is always at your back, as the saying goes. First off, I wanted to congratulate you for all of the positive progress you have made so far on your coming out journey.

You may be thinking, “I haven’t made any progress yet. I’m still completely hidden inside of my closet.” To this I say, you are not giving yourself enough credit. At the very least, you are realizing that you are not happy and completely satisfied in your closet. This is a step. It may seem small, but self-awareness is no small feat. Many people live their entire lives ignoring their internal gut instincts.

Your knowing that you wish for change proves that you have a rebel and a dreamer inside of you. I bet if you let your mind wander you imagine a life for yourself where you are not closeted. Visualization is key. Performing this visualizing has the chance to create hope within you. Hope is a powerful thing, My Friend.

Please take time to congratulate yourself on working as hard as you do. It is hard work to be closeted and still function at your job, with family, and with friends. In many ways, you are working twice as hard as the others around you just to perform the same tasks and to stay calm and centered. And all the while you may be blaming yourself for being who you are and acting as you do.

Please let yourself off of the hook for any lies you may have told friends, family and co-workers to hide who you truly are. These things do not make you a bad person. You are merely surviving in the only way you can think to at the present moment. To some extent, everyone exists as two different people; the version of themselves they know to be true inside and the version of themselves which they share with everyone else. No one else ever knows who we completely are from our core to our outside.

Lies and secrets happen. One lesson I can share with you from my personal, coming out journey is that, when it is all said and done, none of that matters. Who cares? You can’t change the past. All you can control is what you are doing right at this moment. Let yourself off the hook for being so concerned with other people’s feelings. Let yourself off the hook for living your life more to please others than to please yourself. In actuality, it means you are a kind and good person. That, My Friend, is a positive thing.

If you have experienced negative responses from people who you have come out to, brush it off. In the end, pretending to be someone you are not, simply to serve the comfort level of someone narrow-minded and backwards, will never be a path to your personal happiness. Remember that these people’s reactions say more about them than they do about you. We are not meant to mesh well with everyone in this life. Don’t pressure yourself to be an exception from this reality.

I want you to give yourself credit for feeling fear. It may seem like a burden, but it has a place in this life. Fear can make us slow down, think about our moves carefully, and be an active, thoughtful driver behind the wheel of our life. Sticking with the car metaphor – remember that fear is a rear view mirror to help you consider your turns, but it is not the steering wheel by which you should actually make your moves. I will make the suggestion that Hope should be your steering wheel, or at least one of the ones that you use.

I wish I had words to better explain the moment where my internal light switch flipped for me and I suddenly cared more about my personal comfort level with my being gay than I did about everyone else’s feelings and reactions to it. I guess I shouldn’t describe it as a moment; it was really a long transition over several years and several instances of coming out to people. You will get there. One day you will look back at these internal monsters, which feel so huge and scary right now, and they will suddenly feel like tiny, non-threatening, stuffed animals.

Remember to give yourself time to become the person you are meant to be. We all start somewhere.

Remember to feel all the emotions that come with your journey: the fear, the joy, the sadness, and the satisfaction. When it is all said and done, the memories of these feelings will make you a better partner, when you find the love of your life, and simply a better person.

Remember to feel love for yourself. One day, you will see, you are doing just fine.

Chin Up. I have faith in you.

All My Love,

Adamfingers hug in support

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.