Lifestories

The Most Stressed I've Been Leading Our Retreat
The Most Stressed I’ve Been Leading Our Retreat
I guess we're really doing this again, I thought, this whole retreat thing. Is this officially an annual event now? Can I handle that? Goodness, can I really put on a retreat every year for the rest of my life? Or need I only focus on this year's retreat, letting tomorrow's retreat worry for itself? I entered this fourth camp retreat in perhaps my most unhealthy headspace of the four. I felt rushed in the preparation, behind on all the decor and planning which led to a lot of sacrificed self-care, too. Because how can I sleep or eat or exercise or socialize at the same capacity with such a mammoth task at hand?!
I Just Want to Understand the Other Boys
Although the teasing continued for the rest of the school year, I honestly learned to ignore it. I became a recluse at a very young age. This reclusiveness made the other kids – especially the other boys – a bit of a mystery to me. Particularly physically. Looking back, I realize I was in a bit of a paradox: I didn't want the other boys to see any of my body, but I also had somewhat of an interest in theirs.
Gay and Disabled – Just Like Me
Gay and Disabled – Just Like Me
We never really talked about sex in any capacity, as in which girls we liked, or how our disabilities intertwined with our sexuality. The topic was a moot one, sometimes uncomfortably so. Eventually, I had the dreaded conversation with my friend. You know the one: "I'm gay but acting on such feelings goes against what I believe as a follower of Jesus." My friend then came out to me as well! He also didn't want to act on such feelings.
One Day You'll Actually See Me, Mom
One Day You’ll Actually See Me, Mom
My mom didn't start saying she loved me until she became a Christian in the early 80's. Now she says it almost every day, and I feel like she's doing it to make up for all those lost years. As far as I'm concerned, those "I love you's" are empty because she's been saying it to the straight Michael she's always preferred instead of the Michael actually in front of her. And because of that, I've learned to tolerate her acknowledged denial of my life.
Euphoric Recall: My Sexual Fantasies Named
Euphoric Recall: My Sexual Fantasies Named
Here's one vocabulary term I've taken away from therapy: euphoric recall. I'd never heard that phrase until last year, and it gives language to this nebulous internal struggle I've faced since my first bout with pornography at 19.
Pride and Strength for the Struggle
Pride and Strength for the Struggle
Another Pride Month gone; another year I didn't participate. I've never been one for any kind of parade, but part of me believes participating in Pride means I have accepted the part of myself that remained hidden for so long.
Three Tactics for Fighting Intrusive Sexual Thoughts
Three Tactics to Fight Sexually Intrusive Thoughts
For so many years I thought I was just dirty, lustful, and awful for thinking all these terrible sexual thoughts. I was filled with constant shame because the sexually intrusive thoughts kept coming. The realization that I can actually, with practice, redirect my own thoughts, is more freeing than I can write.
Searching for Pride in My Life
Searching for Pride in My Life
I spent nearly three decades of my life sexually involved with other guys, and even longer than that attracted to them, and in all that time I never once considered Pride Month or attending any Pride parades or events. Part of that thinking is because I was raised in the South in the 60's and 70's, and in the Black community particularly acting like a homosexual was strictly taboo. Gay men would either stay on the down-low or be total flamers because they didn't care what people thought. I was the former, someone on the DL.
The Pride of Surviving My Youth
The Pride of Surviving My Youth
Who was it that said Pride is a celebration of having survived? I can certainly relate to that. I don't know who said it before Ryan did, but I'm processing Pride with new eyes and new appreciation this year, and hopefully for the rest of my life. Recognizing the blessing, even the miracle, that I'm still alive. Indeed, I could have died years ago because of my sexuality.
Did Internalized Homophobia Block Me from Brotherly Love?
Did Internalized Homophobia Block Me from Brotherly Love?
Phillip Henry died yesterday at 29 years of age. That was the short, somber text message on my phone. No! Not Phillip! I thought. He was such a close friend. That last thought was only a half-truth. My friendship with Phillip had only just begun, and I'd had such hopes for it. Now, he was gone.