So in case you didn't know, I'm not the only gay in my family. My brother is also gay. I guess my dad only had gay spunk.
When I was a kid growing up my brother and I were pretty close. He was my older brother and I looked up to him . I always wanted to hang out with him. But to him I was that annoying little brother. Whenever he wouldn't let me hangout with him I would throw a tantrum breaking his things. (Whoops) Still he was always looking out for me.
As we got older our relationship became more distant . Tensions were building within my family for reasons not related to us. It did not help matters that both my brother and I were holding onto secrets of our own, that we were both gay. Sadly we both had to deal with these personal struggles on our own, afraid to be honest with each other.
We both went on living our own lives but our relationship as brothers became more and more distant. To be honest , I found it quite difficult to connect with any of my family on a personal level. This could have been because I was holding in a part of who I was or felt ashamed of who I was. Soon enough I began to feel like a stranger in my family. It was difficult for my family and I. I had all this love for them but kept it caged inside. They would only see the worst parts of me causing us to be more like acquaintances than a family.
I was now in my mid to late teens and I had suspicions my brother was gay, but it was not a topic I'd ever dare bring up,. Pretty strange, considering we're both gay. However neither of us had come to terms with our sexuality yet. . It makes life difficult when the people you should be closest to can sometimes feel like the ones you are most distant to.
I come from a small town in the south of Ireland so you can imagine what Grindr was like, and yes, I was that faceless profile saying discreet. (That was a long long time ago.) One day I was in my house just chilling on the sofa and I turned on Grindr for a quick look and my brother popped up 10 metres away. I hit the block button so fast and deleted Grindr the next minute. The absolute panic that set in. I ran out the door hoping my profile did not show up. I'm pretty sure he never saw me on Grindr as he was pretty surprised when I came out, telling everyone I was gay and marrying Michael. Phew, that was a close one!
It was tough when we were growing up because I genuinely cared for my brother and I know he cared for me. Even though we would have never said that to each other before. (Realistically what brothers would especially at that age).
It was almost like we had this silent brother relationship. Which is crazy! We're both screaming queens haha. Jokes aside, I have written previously about internal struggles that I faced but to think my brother may have had his own internal struggles and couldn't confide in me, his own brother makes me sad. But I get the feeling I probably wasn't the most approachable person. It's strange though as people think I have this hard exterior or unapproachable look, which I guess I do. Actually it took many years to perfect that "tough straight lad persona." In reality though, I really am just a big softy who genuinely cares for people, especially if they are struggling. Sometimes people just need to feel like they are not alone and there are others going through similar stuff.
It was time to leave town for college in Dublin. I was hoping I could restart my life and be myself. Well....that didn't actually go according to plan. Believe it or not, I pretty much carried on being the same way I was at home. However in Dublin, I discovered the added attraction of sleeping around with what seemed like an endless supply of guys. Then I would party so hard that I wouldn't think about what I was doing.
So now both my brother and I are living complete separate lives, more distant than ever and both not out. This went on for years, and I actually felt that I didn't need to come out. I thought I was content. It was no one's business anyway. But in hindsight now I realize I was lying to so many people and was never fully able to be myself.
There was some part of me that just didn't want to be that gay guy. Life was already difficult and I built up so many problems in my head. I panicked that my mother would want grandkids and I wouldn't be able to provide them. But that was all silly when looking back as it didn't matter if I was straight or gay, I just never wanted to have kids anyway. So it's probably a good thing I'm gay or my mother would probably be taking care of a dozen grandchildren by now.
College was now finished, I'm still living in Dublin and entering the working world. My life was now split in two at this stage. My gay life and my straight life. But then fast forward a few years later with some chaos thrown here and there and everywhere. I found a man who made my life turn upside down or to be more exact the right side up. A man who not only did I find to be the hottest thing, but a man who saw things the way I saw them. Bizzare! But, hey that's another story.
So the man of my dreams proposes to me, you guys may know him as Michael Shore and I wasn't going to hide that part of my life anymore. If there was ever anyone that was worth coming out of the closet for, it was for him. He made me feel all the parts I never knew were missing from my life. My anxiety was gone, life wasn't so chaotic and I felt loved and I wanted to be there for him the same way he was for me. I was proud of the person I was and I wasn't going to hide that anymore
So I told my mother, then my brother in the most blunt way possible.
So I was in the best place I've ever been and life changed for the better. I accepted who I knew I always was. I was comfortable in my own skin for the first time. It didn't matter who I was with, my gay friends, my straight friends, work friends, they were all just my friends. No more different personas for different groups of people. I can honestly say that I grew so much as a person because of this.
So allowing myself finally to be me, it opened up a whole new life with my brother and I. We started talking more, being more relaxed with each other and we gained more of an understanding of the other and what we each had to deal with. We finally grew close again. We enjoy talking and hanging out with each other. Mike and I like spending time with Wayne and his partner which is so strange because I could not have imagined this situation only a few years ago. But hey look how things can change.
So as I'm writing this blog I find myself lucky, not only do I have a great brother but also have what I consider a great friend. I'm happy both of us have found our way. Ironically I thought that having a gay brother would be odd or rare. As it turns out I know a lot of gays with gay brothers so I guess we're not that special after all.