I cannot believe at one point in my life I wished more than anything else that I was not gay. Of course that was about 40 years ago and I have changed and so has the world. It's just amazing how scared I was of being different and not alike. I think times have changed quite a bit since then but I am sure it is still difficult to come out in many places of the world.
Today I cannot possibly imagine my life any other way. I am married to the best person in the world and have a wonderful life. I always thought being gay was just a small part of who I was, but in reality I think it defined me and made me who I am more than I thought. I’m not a political gay, a gay activist, a marcher or parade goer so I am surprised I feel so gay, but I love it.
It was very strange the other day I just had this eureka moment and realized how much I love being gay. I never really gave much thought to my feelings about being gay it was just who I was the same way I am Jewish, the same way I am American. Yet, I feel being gay fits me perfectly or to put it another way I feel so complete, happy and fulfilled as a person and I owe that to the struggles I had growing up and coming to terms with being gay.
I do not have any facts to back this up with but I believe it is your childhood that makes you who you are as a person. My childhood was filled with depression, anxiety, anger, loneliness and many other feelings I choose to forget. I was not a happy child, teenager or young adult, by any stretch of the imagination. I would say 70 % of my unhappiness was a result of my not being able to come to terms with being gay. It only took me about 40 years to accept the fact I was gay and deal with it.
First and foremost I think the loneliness, unhappiness and every other bad feelings I had growing up gave me so many of the traits I like most in myself. I hope I don’t sound like I am tooting my own horn, but I consider myself a caring, loving, kind, honest, generous and empathetic human being.
Growing up I always felt I was on the outside looking in and wished I could just be like everyone else. Most people would tell you this wasn’t the case, however I was a great pretender. I always longed to feel accepted and be one of the crowd. I was terrified of being judged. As time has worn on the more comfortable and happy I have felt in my own skin the more accepting I have become of everyone else.
Being accepting and non judgemental of other people has made my life so much more interesting. It has allowed me to meet so many different types of people who have added so much to my life. I am not sure if this is correlation is correct, but I also believe that many of the friendships I have are deeper because I am gay. Most of my good friends are straight. I have found that usually when straight men find out you are gay they open up to you in a way they would not with their other guy friends. For some reason they are more apt to be honest and revealing with you. This could be because they don’t consider you a threat in any way. I am really not sure, but it is an interesting phenomenon. I think most of the women just love having a male friend who is simply that, not someone they have to worry about misinterpreting their actions.
Most people who knew me growing up would tell you I had many friends. I would say I had very few and fewer who I trusted. I was too scared to tell people my secret. This succeeded in making me self sufficient and self reliant at a very young age, of course not for the right reasons. I love having friends in my life but by the same token there is a peace of mind I have knowing I can be by myself and enjoy my own company.
Spending so much time alone as a child I had to learn to enjoy my own company and develop hobbies and interests that have followed me my entire life. I can remember as early as third grade being a very lonely kid.
To escape from my loneliness I become an avid reader. Even to this day I enjoy nothing more than getting lost in a good book. Books taught me that there was something else out there in the world. Something to search for, something to reach for. I learned to fantasize about the kind of life I might one day have. Books were and still are like old friends and I always like to have a few lined up to read. Now that Aaron and I are married I don’t read as much but I love knowing they are there. I can still remember hating to go to sleep because I wanted so badly to finish a book or always looking to see how much I had left because I knew how sad I would be when it ended and I would try to read slower.
As I grew older I was never much of a joiner probably because I thought people would discover my secret and I did not feel as good as everyone else. Somehow I discovered swimming and running. I excelled at both. I did not care about that what I loved most was that at practice I could swim or run for hours and be in my own thoughts and world without anyone bothering me. To this day I still love both except I have too many injuries to run anymore. When I am able to swim it is such a luxury to have that time to think and figure things out.
As I have been writing, I have been thinking that for loving being gay most of my friends are straight, but I also love being Jewish and most of my friends aren’t Jewish. I am going to take a leap here and say both the Jews and Gays have survived and overcome so much that I am proud and happy to be a part of each group. It doesn’t matter that I may not be part of a group of Gays or Jews, what matters is in my heart I know what I am.
There are many things I wonder about. What would it be like if Aaron and I never had to think about money and we could whatever we wanted all the time? What would it be like to live in any country we wanted? What would it be like to be famous. One thing I never ever wonder about is what it would be like to be straight. I think most of us wonder about things that we think we might like to experience. The fact that I never wonder about what it would be like being straight only reinforces to me that I love being gay.
I find it so interesting when I look back to myself as a little kid. I can’t believe that so many of my personality traits and hobbies that I developed to survive because I was so scared of being gay have brought me so much joy. I truly believe so much of the incredible life I’ve had is due to being gay. This year Aaron will be taking me to my first Gay Pride Parade. About fucking time I can show mine.