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.

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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

Me and the Perfect Male Physique

david williams rugby

The Beautiful David Williams

In this post, I would like to explore my obsession with the perfect male physique and the internal conflict that this obsession creates with how I view myself.

The truth is, I spent a significant chunk of my teenage years, and later my adult life, obsessed with the idea of the perfect male body, and thus the role it played in making a man a man. In further truth, I am still battling with this masculine image in my mind today. I have always associated muscles, athleticism, and confidence with being a man. But of course, there must be more to what makes a man than his physical body. I know I am missing other important pieces. But this constant fear of my body being inadequate, weak and not sexy always haunted me. I will admit, this fear has gotten better with age, maturity and life experience. But I still struggle with my body not being good enough, and thus fearing I am failing in my role as a man.

Even scarier, what if it is my fault that my body is not more masculine or muscular? If I wasn’t so scared of the intensity of sports, competition, and masculine roughness than maybe I could have been more athletic and come across as more calm and collected. Maybe then I would have looked and acted more like a man. 

In what felt like a side effect to all of this, the images I never felt I was living up to, the ones in my mind that were the most different from me, became the things I lusted for and desired. Football players with their silent intensity, and perfectly developed chests because erotic. I began playing ‘Where’s Waldo?’ games out in public, peeling my eyes for glimpses of the strong masculine back leading up to a pair of ripped arms extending from a sleeveless shirt, or a perfect ass reflected in cargo shorts leading down to strong muscular calves. Sweaty muscles, bulging biceps, and washboard abs became things that I would never have, but which would fill me with endless envy and obsession.  

sheridan towel man

The Sheridan Towel Man

Straight men will never understand how torturous simply going to the gym can be for a gay man. I do not mean to over dramatize, but I’ve always been nervous about staring too much. If someone noticed me staring at them I could get my ass kicked or at the very least be shunned as not ‘one of the guys’ and in fact queer. All gay men have done it, as they rest between sets, they try not to make it obvious that their eyes are longingly gazing at the sexy bodies all around them pushing their bulging muscles to their limits. And what about changing in the locker room? The anxiety mixed with excitement of catching a god like body as it undresses, or exits the shower drying off and wrapping a towel around his waist…it is exhausting just thinking about it. While viewing these male bodies is fun, it always made me feel separate from something I wished that I was. These bodies where not mine. I was never sure if I saw this same raw masculine power and sexuality in myself.

This brings us to a confusion I began to struggle with my freshman year of college. At what point does longing to be this masculine, perfect male body, turn into wanting to have sex with this masculine, perfect male body? There was a point where I honestly convinced myself that I wasn’t gay. I convinced myself that I was misinterpreting my not feeling masculine enough, my longing to physically be manlier, for an attraction to men. Maybe I was confusing this ‘something missing’, for a sexual attraction towards those I envied and wanted to be. Where is the line between these two things? Where does one begin and the other end? Or do they overlap? Does this confusion make sense? Can anyone out there relate to what I am saying?

Do I want to become the perfect male specimen or do I want to sleep with him? I am really gay right?

So where do I fit in? Where am I at with all of this today?

I wish there was a simple answer to that question. I can tell you that writing this blog, thinking these thoughts out thoroughly, helps. This post has a lot to do with my past and who I was before I came out, but, if I am being honest, the fears and questions I included here are still a smaller part of Adam in the present. It helps to bring this all out into the light.

I can tell you that coming out has made me more confident in who I am as a man. I have been in a steady workout routine for almost two years now, so though my body is far from perfect, I feel stronger and more attuned with it than I ever have. These are all positive things. I am who I am, and at the end of the day, I can tell you that I am sincerely proud of the type of man I have become and that I am continuing to become. And I can tell you that none of us should allow ourselves to be haunted and tormented by an invisible, self-constructed ideal of what it means to be anything.

So, now I realize that I am attracted to certain types of male, physical masculinity. But I am also attracted to viewing myself in a similar physically masculine body, and that is okay. I can want these things for myself and for my partner at the same time. I am still working out all of the details, but I think as long as I try to be realistic in my expectations for myself and a significant other, then this will all turn out okay. After all, any type of unobtainable and unrealistic ideal placed too high on a pedestal can be unhealthy.

The older I get, the more I can envision walking off into my ‘happily ever after sunset’ within whatever body I have and with whatever vision of masculinity I project or lay next to at night. If I really think about it, my body’s outline, beside someone I love, would look fantastic in front of a beautiful sunset, just as it is, in whatever form it happens to take. And perhaps, Gentle Reader, complete self-acceptance is the real ideal we should all be striving for.

men walking into sunset