Damn my curious heart. At times, it has made life nearly impossible. Questioning and never really feeling comfortable in my skin or my surroundings has left me at times feeling like a long-distance swimmer attempting to conquer the length of the Pacific Ocean. Alone and afraid, I have had to tell myself it will get easier once I crest the next wave. Sometimes this was the truth. Sometimes it was a necessary lie. Both were needed to keep my swimming forward.
Looking back on my life as I sit in the dis/comfort of my 35-year-old body, I can clearly see the battles I have won because of the things I pushed back on with all my might. I have never been satisfied with this world as it is. Instead, I have held myself and others to an impossible standard. This has caused a lot of pain and frustration. Still, I am satisfied with where I find myself. My life isn’t perfect and by no means do I have it all figured out but if you will indulge me, these are some of those battles.
At an early age, I pushed back on politics. Growing up in conservative Oklahoma wasn’t easy for a kid like me. From a fairly young age, I was drawn to the Democratic Party. As I learned more, spoke with more people, and became a consumer of news, my ideas and beliefs more closely aligned with those on the political left. Given my environment, this meant I was the odd man out more often than not. This became abundantly clear to me during the 2000 election. I firmly believed in the promise of Vice President Al Gore and thought he would make an excellent president; an election where I wasn’t old enough to cast a ballot. That minor detail didn’t keep me from debating and I debated everywhere I went. Those conversations revealed something I had never felt before; I was in the minority. Still, I pushed with all my might.
A year after 9/11, I headed off to college at the University of Central Oklahoma and found myself pushing back on religion. Raised Southern Baptist and baptized at a young age, I never once questioned the existence of God. Then my 17-year-old eyes watched the Twin Towers crumble before me on a television screen. Then and there, my innocence about the world was gone forever. This would set me on a path of questioning everything. After countless books, sermons, conversations, and lots of tears, I decided I was no longer calling myself something I couldn’t endorse fully. Agnostic is what I wanted to be called and my search wouldn’t let me linger on that title forever. Despite the glances, stares, and judgment, I pushed with all my might.
From the age of thirteen on, I knew I was built different than other boys and at some point, I would have to push back on love. At the time, I didn’t know what to call my feelings. Thanks to my religious upbringing, I knew my feelings were wrong and I should be ashamed of them. I tried with every ounce of power that I possessed to push my attractions deep down inside. I buried them with all my might, but like all good secrets, this one couldn’t stay hidden for long. Through relationships, I never truly wanted, experimentation, and fear of being ostracized, I slowly learned to call myself gay and there was nothing wrong with that. I came to terms with the relationships I would lose and longed for those that would be saved by me living my truth. Then, I met someone and fell in love. Four years later and hoping for a lifetime of more, I find myself pushing with all my might.
Now, you may stumble across this corner of the internet and shake your head. The thought of another Liberal, Buddhist, Gay man roaming the streets of America might stoke all of your dearly held beliefs about what is wrong with this country. If that is you, then this post and most of what you will find on this website are not and will never be meant for you. This is meant for those who feel lost. This is meant for those who find themselves questioning their place in the world. My only hope in putting these words to a page is simple. I want you to know you are not alone and be patient with yourself. There are countless others who find themselves standing in your shoes or have stood where you are standing now. There is also no rush. Give yourself time to learn and grow. Some of the most impressive people that I know don’t have it all figured out and don’t pretend that they will ever achieve such a lofty goal. Instead, they commit to the idea of pushing back with all their might.
Be good to each other,
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