*An anonymous submission
Understanding yourself is an ongoing process. It starts with knowing what you want, what you need and eventually not being afraid to speak up how much that you want it. I am learning that coming out is an ongoing process. As far as I can recall, I think I’ve always known in some capacity that I wasn’t straight.
When I was around the age of 4 in 1977, I recall a handful of things that may have been big signs that I was gay. The first begins with a crush on Shaun Cassidy. I remember loving his music quite seriously. Seeing his picture, hearing his music I got all sorts of fluttery. I recall even telling my parents that he was my boyfriend or going to be my boyfriend. Then there was Luke Skywalker. When other boys wished or imagined Princess Leia was at their side, I imagined Luke Skywalker at mine.
Then there was dancing. I loved dancing. No, dancing doesn’t indicate a preference towards homosexuality. Imagining that John Travolta was the one I was dancing with does. Then when I was a bit older under the age of 10, I recall putting on dance numbers for my Mom with my sister. We did a number as Superman and Lois Lane, there was all sorts of theatrics. Most boys imagine fighting off bad guys, I imagined dancing with the love interest.
Then as I approached adolescence, I even played doctor with girls. It felt just as bad as going to the doctor. When I got the chance to play with boys, in hindsight, I couldn’t book enough appointments. I had two different defining instances with pornography. I saw my first female nude and ended up feeling way too weird about it. Then when I saw my first male nude it was like fireworks had happened.
As I got older into my teens, I tried dating girls. It never felt right. I always tried making something work that never really was meant to work. It was like trying play baseball with a brick. It just didn’t work. In my post high school years, I found men seeking men ads in a local personals. Nothing ever amounted from it.
I did find a non billing gay sex line. I had gone to my local Borders Books and Music. I bought a Rolling Stone to hide the Playgirl that I was buying. In the back of the Rolling Stone there was phone number for a gay sex line. No charge, just long distance fees. You know when you act on an all ID approach nothing good will happen. I had some amazing conversations. They ended up being way too many and Mom found out. She called me at work and made harsh pronouncements. She compared me to a pedophile and told me to expect being raped in hell. That even needed to find a new home to live in. I ended up recanting being gay and forced my way back into the closet, so I’d have family and a home.
My twenties would continue, I’d explore my feelings and imagination through pornography. I’d imagine and end up feeling awe of what I saw. There’d even be attempts at dating through personals that wouldn’t work out. The feedback that I got was that they didn’t want to be a dating experiment, didn’t want to date a “bi guy” or they didn’t want to be the first guy I dated. I was disappointed, I continued to date women and not really like it. There was one woman whom I had dated quite seriously for a while. She broke my heart when she made fun of me for liking opera and cooking. She said she thought I was gay and laughed at me. I later broke up with her. I couldn’t stand her level of sarcasm.
Eventually I made it into my thirties, after a bout of dating a lot of women. I decided to come out to my best friend. I knew I was gay and I decided to embrace it. I tried dating guys again. I gave up after 6 months, when I found the personal ad for the woman who would become my wife. We dated. It was great. We had so much fun. We fit. I thought maybe all the bad dating was just bad dating. We got engaged after 6 months. We married a year to the day of our first date.
Our marriage didn’t start off well, within the first few months she began a habit of going to bed before 7 pm. This was a habit that would continue for the span of our marriage. Being alone though so often at night, gave me the cold stark reality that I was gay. I did try and make the marriage work. For a while, It did. We had a baby. An awesome son who born less than 9 years ago who changed my life for the better. We had our ups, but, mostly downs. I had issues with my health. I actively sought to make the matters better. She didn’t have the same approach. It often took a great deal of struggle and pleading for her to do anything.
During my marriage to my wife, I became estranged with my Mom and Sister. I came out to my Mom on multiple occasions. She let me know that she forgot how she nearly kicked me out over the phone sex line. She even once told me I should get help after Orlando. I let her know I didn’t need help for being gay.
I have been on my own for the last 6 months. I have had a first date with a man. I have had some fun over Tinder. I have been trying to live openly as a queer man. I have let old friends know that I was queer. I have begun to build a new life for myself openly embracing my more true and genuine self. Recently, I decided to get rid of some of my body hair. My Mom and Sister whom I am now no longer estranged with told me that I should stay hairy. They even told me that some women actually like hairy bodies. I felt crushed, my Mom seems to have conveniently forgot me coming out via email. I had used pretty definite language. I let her know how I really felt. She’s apparently in some denial. I won’t let that hold me back from being the most fabulous me that I can be. I still have some hurdles to jump in my life with my ongoing divorce. When that ongoing trial has passed, I do plan on clearing the air with my Mom and then my daughter eventually. I know that life is going to be alright. I am being genuine and honest with myself, I definitely can’t lose now.