FINDING PRIDE

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I FEEL NOTHING - 

I saw this statement on somebody’s shirt the other day at the gym.  The guy wearing the shirt was very muscular, very fit and reading his shirt hurt my heart. It brought me back in time......

I remember the moment I closed myself off. I remember the moment I knew I had to build an armor. I remember the moment I had to do all I could do to “not feel anything”. 

I was 14, in middle school and rumors started spreading that I was gay. It seemed as if everybody in school was talking about it and I couldn’t understand what I was doing to have people talk that way about me. I never looked at other guys in that way or had a relationship with guys. I always dated girls and did the things guys were “supposed” to do. 

I figured that if I wasn’t showing “the signs” of being gay than it must be the way I talk or just the way I act that gave people the impression that I was gay. 

When the rumors started I remember running into the bathroom at school and crying. I couldn’t hold back my tears. Somebody walked in and saw me crying. I was so ashamed and in that moment I remember very clearly deciding that I have to close down.  

Feeling was too hard. I feel nothing became my mantra. 

I grew up thinking being “myself” was “bad” because being gay is wrong, bad and gross. I tried so hard to “feel nothing”. I figured it was easier that way. I closed a part of me off so much that it became the norm and I even fooled myself into thinking that being gay was just a choice and to fit in and be accepted I would choose to be straight. 

I find it amazing that even after all of these years just writing this makes my hands shake and tears come into my eyes. 

I spent many years trying to close down who I truly am in the inside thinking that I wouldn’t be accepted, appreciated, liked or loved. I built up an armor on the inside and also physically on the outside to keep people out and to “protect” myself. 

I once thought “not feeling” gave me strength. I now know that feeling everything is the bravest and strongest thing that any of us can do. It’s a practice but I make the effort to feel. 

The road to self acceptance and self love has lead me to PRIDE.   I’M PROUD of myself for where I am now.   I Am PROUD of myself for living my authentic life and not hiding who I am to others and especially myself.   I’M PROUD that I try to feel everything instead of nothing. 

I can look back now and appreciate the “shame” for what it supplied me. Like a lot of people dealing with shame, it forced me to over compensate in other areas. I began working on my health and body. I wanted to know as much as possible about the body and build it up to be as strong as possible. In my early 20’s I even competed in bodybuilding shows. 

I appreciate that my shame helped shine a light on what is now my passion. My passion to fitness lead me to a yoga mat and it was on the mat that the real work to self love, acceptance and appreciation really began. It was on the yoga mat that brought up my feelings and it was on the yoga mat that continually reminded me to feel. 

I TURNED MY SHAME TO SHINE.  I now honor my shame because it was needed to get me exactly where I am today.  I Am A PROUD GAY MAN who will Keep feeling and keep healing. 

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I think we can all remember a time when we didn’t feel accepted. We all have to learn to love ourselves. It doesn’t matter your sexual preference, race or religion. Acceptance is for everyone. To me, Pride is acceptance. Pride is self love. Although this month may be directed to the gay community it is my belief that pride should be for everybody and when things continue to progress we can all be proud of the people who helped pave the way before us and we can all have pride in who we are.  When we remind ourselves that we are all one and there is no separation we can all stand proud together.  

Celebrate this month. Celebrate yourself, celebrate each other, celebrate those who came before you and celebrate love.

HAPPY PRIDE TO ALL 💚💛❤️🧡💙