I wasn’t just born gay. I was born different. Growing up, I was either the center of attention, or I was being completely shunned for my outlandish behavior.
Looking back at the other gay men whom I grew up with that later “came out”, I simply wasn’t your typical gay kid. All the other gay kids that I grew up with liked the Bionic Woman better than the Six Million Dollar Man. However, unlike all the other gay boys, I didn’t fantasize about marrying the Six Million Dollar Man. I knew that I was going to marry David Bowie.
Yep. I was the strange one.
While all the other boys in the 6th grade were pirates, and jail birds, and transformers for Halloween.. I was Boy George.
At 12, I had already figured out that Siouxsie Sioux was the true Goddess-not Madonna.
At 13, I strayed down the Gothic path, long before there was ever a Marilyn Manson or a store called Hot Topic.
By 15, I was carrying around Sylvia Plath’s, The Bell Jar & Ariel poems like they were religious textbooks.
Yep. That was me. Freak. Fag. Sensitive soul. Dark heart. However you chose to label me.
And those were simply references to my style and and personal interests.
On a clinical level…I simply am not your average gay!
I’m hyper. Easily excitable. Like a big puppy that slobbers and pisses himself when he meets a stranger he likes. I can be loud. Sometimes confrontative. I cry when reading a sad novel or watching tragic cinema. I’m extremely emotional. Impulsive. Passionate. Loyal. Erratic. Intense…..
ALL OF IT!
An ex-boyfriend once told me, “You’re too much candy for a dime!”
I SURE AM!
And, I used to be so hard on myself when I’d see disappointment in a stranger’s face, because I wasn’t the cool, calm, collect Nick that they envisioned me to be. Maybe that’s the fantasy man they built from the image they saw in the videos.
Sorry. I aint that guy! I will never be relaxed, easy going, and “under the radar”.
Maybe you get what I’m saying. Maybe you can relate.
So, how did I reconcile some of this?
Here is the first thing that I did to really help me become comfortable in my skin:
I stopped hanging out and assuming friendships with gay men because they were aesthetically pleasing. I now befriend any guy that I have common interests with. Most of whom are very artistic, sensitive, self assured, amazing souls.
We share a common thread in the fact that we are different. How refreshing that was to establish that kind of bond. Finally!
The second thing I did:
I quit focusing on trying to be the one who rebels agains the “cool” gay guys. It’s just a really immature place to come from. Yes, I can sometimes revert and be snarky, but I am much more concerned with rallying the gay guys out there that are like myself. Cuz let’s face it…there are plenty of us out there! Maybe not exactly like me. But, just like me!
The third thing I did:
I got brutally honest. Honest about my pain, honest about my dreams, about my pitfalls. The more authentic I become with you, the less I need to hide. That is freedom! Every time I share my self discoveries with another gay man, there is a connection made. I get some more freedom. And maybe they can relate and not feel so alone with their own frustrated fears.
So fucking what if we don’t fit in with the circuit queens at the gay bars!
So what if we stumble over our words when we meet an attractive guy, because it fuels some insecurity.
They are no better. We are no worse.
We are just different!
Let’s take some of our unique qualities, cultivate them, and start sharing them, so that others out there know they aren’t alone.
I’m done punishing myself for being different.
This is our time.
Let’s celebrate it!
So, let me know what you’re doing to help yourself feel more comfortable, exactly the way you are. More importantly, what are you doing to help someone else?
One of my favorite movie quotes is from that 90’s teen film, “The Craft”.
When the four witches are getting off the city bus and the bus driver says to Fairuza Balk’s character, “You girls watch out for those weirdos!” She responds smugly, “We are the weirdos, mister.”
Me with my grandparents, Halloween…1985