After our last move to Seattle, in 1979, I just couldn’t take it any longer. I moved out of the house provisionally to see whether I really wanted to break up and pursue a relationship with a man, or whether it was just a passing phase. At the same time, I was finally fulfilling an interest I had in bodybuilding. I was still in my mid-30’s and, never having done any sports, I was not particularly proud of my body. I discovered bodybuilding, however, and began to build up my muscles and take pride in my physical appearance. I also started running. It was the 80’s and everybody was into fitness. My employer sponsored free club memberships. For once, I felt the confidence I had been lacking, and realized that I could have an interest in sports and fitness, and that not all sports had to involve a team and a moving ball which I could not see.
With my new body and confidence, I had no trouble meeting men. It took some time for me to adjust from being a loner to having friends. Sure, some of these were superficial friends, but not all. It was at this time that I discovered several very important things:
(1) I was gay, but not all gays fit into the stereotypical mold. In fact most did not. And gays are very interesting people to talk to. They knew a lot of influential and interesting people. And, they are far from the sleazy image portrayed by the press. Most of them were forced out of their homes for one reason or another. They have used their talent, creativity, and resourcefulness to create lives for themselves. I went to a concert of the Seattle Men’s Chorus. A group of outstanding musicians. I could appreciate and identify with their skill and talent. They taught me that being gay was not dirty or disgusting. It’s not easy. It’s very challenging. If you do it right, it’s a lot of fun. If you do it wrong, as I have seen many do, it is lonely and depressing. I suppose it’s the same for all people, gay or straight, but, I have been to gay bars and straight bars. Gay bars are a lot more fun.
(2) I got out of my comfort zone, lost the anger, lost the poor self image, and realized that I did have a lot of love to give. This was something I never realized before. I considered myself an angry, hateful person, but that was by no means who I really was. Honesty, starting with yourself, is truly the first step on the road to happiness. And, when you live authentically, you are on the road to wholeness in body, heart, mind, and spirit. And, this is the definition of holiness.
(3) I wasn’t as much interested in having sex with men as I was in talking to them and sharing deep emotional, mental, and spiritual bonds. This was something I had longed for all my life, and I sensed that others longed for it, too. Sex is a powerful way to communicate, and an added extra to everything else, but if sex was the only basis for a relationship, or all there was to life was a series of one night stands, life was shallow, indeed.
(4) I also realized that I could let this get out of hand and take over my whole life. I couldn’t let that happen. I had a family to think of, bills and child support to pay, and I still had a career that I loved and wanted to pursue. I have seen many gay guys get trapped in what I call the “Peter Pan” syndrome. They never want to grow up. They just want to live the rest of their life in some fictional never land with other lost boys. I had too much to live for to fall into that kind of trap.
(5) Even with all my problems, mistakes, and misadventures, I was happier than I had even been previously in my life.