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Friday, 31 August 2012

The African Impala Story

Here's one of the most beautiful stories that I came across a while ago. I have since kept it at heart because it speaks great volume in regard to fear and our comfort zone.

"The African Impala can jump to a height of over 10 feet and cover a distance of greater than 30 feet. Yet these magnificent creatures can be kept in an enclosure in any zoo with a 3 foot wall. The animals will not jump if they cannot see where their feet will land."

"Faith, is the ability to trust what we cannot see. And with faith, we are freed from the flimsy enclosures of life that only fear allows to entrap us."

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Is it Disgusting When Two Guys Touch Each Other?

So yesterday, my mom, brother and I were having dinner together. A thought crept up from the back of my head as I decided to ask them casually.

The question was in response to my memory of a scene from the French gay movie: "Juste Une Question d'Amour", where one of the homophobic fathers said something like: "L'idée que deux hommes puissent se toucher comme ça... Je peux pas! Putain, ça me dégoute!". (The idea that two men can touch each other like that... Fuck, it disgusts me!)

So here goes the conversation.

Me: [attention to Mom and Brother]
"You know, I think the reason why you guys are still 'kind of okay' with me being... you know... 'ME'. Is because you don't actually see the full spectrum of what goes on between two gay guys."

"What do you mean?"

"I mean... "
"If you were to see two guys touching each other, how would you feel?"
"Okay! If it's ME touching another guy, would you fee-..."

She: [eyes closed, shakes head and waves hand]
"Oh no, leave me out of this."
"Please, spare me... I don't want to know."

"Okay. But can I just find out why?"
"Is it because it's gross?"
"It's that right? It's gross."

"No... Not because it's gross."
"It's not gross... "
"We're just... Not used to it."

Me: [neutral expression]
"Not used to it?"

[In My Head]
Not used to it? Well it IS true.
But doesn't that sound like a nicer way of saying it's gross?

At that moment, I realised what was going on. My poor mom certainly wasn't expecting this conversation, but yet she was trying her best to find the right words to go with the right reaction without sounding discriminatory.

"Yeah, it's actually 'that' Mom."
"Because it's gross."

"I think no matter how much one says they're okay with it, there's still going to be some sort of underlying judgement. Like the other day, when I told you a little bit about how this guy wanted to touch me in which I rejected, you were kinda disgusted with that thought and you couldn't take it."

She: [sighed]

"Actually we shouldn't Mom. We have to get rid of that."
"Even for me, I do get uncomfortable sometimes due to my internalised homophobia."
"But I'm working on it. I have to because I'm gay, and there's just no other way around it."

"And although I've mentioned before that I don't think I can get past PDA, but I'm not ruling out the possibility of one day touching and holding my boyfriend in public."

She: [sigh]
"Whatever it is, that's your private life. What you do with your partner is behind closed doors."
"People don't have to know."
"Why are you asking these questions all of a sudden?"

"I don't know..." 
"Just wondering I guess... Trying to understand the situation? "
"About how people generally feel when they see two guys touching each other."

"Well that is part of what being gay is all about isn't it? "
"If the world had absolutely no problem with two guys touching each other, then the problem of being gay, just wouldn't be a problem at all."

"Yeah! How true."

[shifting the attention to my brother]

"What about you?"

"If the guys are holding hands, it's fine. I don't feel anything."
"But kissing... I can't."
"I mean the thought of two male lips approaching each other, I... " (he couldn't finish the sentence as he gesticulated a shudder)

"Okay, okay."
"It's okay... "
"I understand."

On the way home, I find myself looking outside the car window in silence as tears welled up in my eyes. I felt so sad thinking about the conversation because I realised that no one is at fault here. There is no bad guy.

It's not my fault for turning out the way I am, but neither it is theirs for having to overcome their own repugnance towards homosexuality, she's only human. Throughout the car ride, I felt hurt thinking about the already existing hardships of my own journey, and despite walking my loved ones through my struggles, they're still finding it hard to come to terms with what being gay entails. Can I blame them?

In fact, sometimes you really can't blame people for being homophobic. It's just how the world is being programmed. If we're going to blame someone, blame the heavens for their lack of responsibility in shaping mankind. Why did you toy with some evolutionary homo sapien experiment and have ME live in this world as one of the unlucky outcomes of that unsuccessful experiment, through may I add, no fault of mine? Is that fair?

The Inner Voice: [interjects]
"NO! Don't go there!"
"Don't go there! Enough."
"It's okay..."
"Don't. Go. There!"

"It's okay. Just live your life and keep walking. They've accepted you, which is more than anything you could ever ask for. Respect them and reciprocate the same understanding because it's really unfair of you to have them dwell into sensitive discussions they can't handle. So leave them out of the 'guy-touching' conversation and just move on."

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Why Am I Spending So Much Time Writing This?

Ever had that moment where you attended a party or gathering, and came home to a much quieter environment reflecting about your own life? As you step into the living room and soak up the silent space in view, your mind takes a deep sigh as the reality of your life, all that you are, all that you've been and all that you're feeling, gradually catches up to you.

Today I experienced one of these moments and I don't know if it's because you mingle with people at parties that you worry for yourself, or because of the drastic shift in environmental context, going from public to a personal one that I questioned: What's gonna happen to me? What am I doing with my life?

The Inner Voice: [interjects]
"What are you doing with your life? Please. You know very well what you're doing with your life. You now live partially in a blog, that's what you're doing. Don't believe me? Look where you are right now. You spend a ridiculous amount of time hiding behind this page, writing and pouring your hearts out when you're supposed to go face the real world and live your life."

Yeah. I've grown to feel so comfortable here. Is that so bad? After all that I went through and am going through, don't I deserve some neutral plane to take shelter? I should cut myself some slack. 

This blog is going to form a chapter of my life, not overtake it. The thing is I have so much to say, so much to regurgitate, so much to let go and this blog has become my emotional sponge. It does provide a partial absorption to all my sadness, my frustration, my fear, my disappointments, my fragile thoughts and my overwhelming emotions. Every time after publishing a post, I feel so much lighter, an enormous sense of relief. Because I could finally let a part of the tormented thoughts and questions that were exploding inside of me go.

In trying to reassure myself the worthiness of why I write, I have decided too that this blog, should also be of service to others. When you transform whatever it is that you're doing for yourself into servicing others, fulfilment and purpose is more likely to come because it's no longer just about you, but about helping others along the way. In documenting the journey of discovery and the quest for answers, you help others gain insight into their own lives.

The Inner Voice: [interjects]
"Well are you aware of how openly transparent you publicly share some of your feelings? Where's the sense of decency? Did we not have this conversation about embarrassing yourself? Past experiences didn't teach you enough huh?"

Well, I can't lie about my true emotions because they're already being concealed in real life and it's eating me up from the inside. So what's the point of writing this blog if I can't be honest and truthful about my tormented feelings? Plus, I started out writing for myself, never forget that.

There are many gay blogs out there, adventurous ones, exciting ones, attractive ones, intelligent ones... Written by hot guys, successful professionals and magna cum laude(s) who make so much more sense, and who are indeed living and tasting the enviable aspects of a sweet gay life. It would be so fun if I was that and could write a blog like that too.

But you know what they say? It's so important to just stay true to yourself and write what you know. So, what do I know? I know that in discovering myself, the journey has been an unpredictably frustrating one. Nobody told me that being me and being gay was going to be this tough. I know the deep amount of courage one needs, to be honest. I know how hard it is to grow up. I know how to feel and question life as necessary.

Therefore, hopefully in writing what I know, future "Gay and Invisible(rs)" who find themselves sipping from my straw, would already have access to some pat-in-the-back comfort, consolation and answers on this blog.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

10 Things You Must Give Up To Move Forward

This morning, I stumbled upon an article on Facebook and thought it was very close to what I needed to read.

Friday, 17 August 2012

"You're Not Ready for a Relationship"

Ever since I started writing my thoughts here, I've known for a while that I am a walking mess. Rather than progressing forward to enjoying gay life sooner or looking for a boyfriend, I let myself get into a situation whereby more time is now needed to be spent on rebuilding myself. So kids, recognise my mistake now and steer yourself accordingly.

A recent discussion with two of my friends went like this:

"At the moment, you're a guy repellent. You're not ready for a relationship. Nobody is going to find you attractive for now because you can't accept yourself."

[My subconscious]
Ah-hah! There it is. Told you so!
How does it feel having to hear it from them?

Me: [sigh]
"Yeah... I've known that for a while."

"Look, even if you found someone... Like that 'dream hot guy' you've always wanted. And he happens to love you, you're still going to feel so hollow and empty on the inside because you don't love yourself."

"And the guy can only love you so much, in a capacity that he knows how. But there's still going to be that void inside you because you can't accept yourself. Your life is going to be based on another person because you have nothing worthy going on in you. And in the end, you'll be living his life."

"Then gradually, you're going to start questioning how you're not good enough for him and how you don't deserve his love."

Me: [long silence]

"So... Accept yourself..."

As I hear the last sentence, I found myself in complete silence because. Because... I don't know. Is it disappointment?

Thursday, 16 August 2012

How Powerful Is The Mind?

Yesterday, two of my unconditionally supportive friends gave me a small neutral intervention in regard to my state of happiness. And because the conversation ignited my cauldron of bubbling thoughts and epiphanies, I'm going to mindlessly spill them all out here for the next few posts. In trying to understand my negativity and my overwhelming reluctance in self-acceptance, she recalled a scene from an influential daytime talk show about the power of the mind.

That episode documented the struggles of a woman battling anorexia nervosa. The interview was approached in a way to help her realise that she needs to overcome her own mind in order to save her own life. But how? How do you help yourself when you're the one trapped underneath a deep dark well? How do you get yourself out of it? 

In the interview, a successful survivor was being brought in to help persuade the tormented woman on the verge of self-destruction.

Anorexia Survivor: [persuasive tone]
"When you're in it, you can't see it! It's. So. Hard!"
"What you can do is you can make the little steps to build your mind so that you can fight back!"

But the anorexic woman looks up at the survivor with an unfathomable expression and in frustrated tears said: But how did you do it?! (At that moment, you could see that her mind was no longer that of a sane person. She was a lost soul, completely overtaken by helplessness.)

Anorexia Survivor: [persuasive tone]
"You just start to nourish your brain!! So your brain can start to feel life again! And the life is so wonderful! And we are in control of our own lives and our own destiny!"

The woman responded in negativity and broke down: "I can't do it..."She died two years later after having appeared on that interview. Until this day, her earth-shattering question of "but how?", is the key to what many of us are still trying to figure out within ourselves. I couldn't help but wonder if she had freed her mind to listen then, could she have been saved?

As viewers who are mere observers of something in which we are not involved in, we see many things, the bigger picture in great detail. And in witnessing her struggles, we are aware of the danger and severity of her situation. Our immediate instincts tell us that in order for her to keep her own life, she needs to stop listening to her mind and start feeding herself again.

It's as simple as taking food and putting it in your mouth right? (Like how you can just snap out of depression and be happy.) How straightforward and easy. But yet, so hard to do because something in the mind is so powerful that it's refusing to relinquish control over whatever we're trying to change. It's in a state where its obstructing every ounce of our capacity to see ourselves and to wake up. It blocks the ability to think and to understand how we ended up in the fucked-up situation we're in. That inexplicable mental blockage, I don't know how to explain what it is, but it's there and it's strong because I've experienced it. In fact I'm figuring out my way around it.

However, this story made me rethink the potential power of our minds and the endless possibilities we could achieve by focusing it in the right direction and on the right things. If only I could just ignore the call of my pain, just let go and just do it instead of asking how. In channelling all of my energy into building and strengthening myself, I might actually have the potential to exceed my own expectations or become someone better.

Monday, 13 August 2012

How Do I Convince My Tormented Self To Let Things Go?

I've recently been in touch with a nice guy who reads this blog and we've been exchanging heartfelt emails for a while. Thought I'd share a few extracts of what he has to say in his email to me because it's important in the progression of my journey.

His Email:
Reading your entries are great for me but obviously not so great for you and it breaks my heart to think that you are stuck in this maze of torment over something that should be the happiest time of your life. So there is just one thing to do, and that is what are you going to do about it? 

Unfortunately being gay is a burden at least in the beginning when admitting it to yourself, but it will get better if you make a conscious effort to steer your experience in the direction you want to be. So my advice to you (and you may think me a fool) is to stop worrying about being gay for now and focus your energy on yourself as a person and dealing with the negativity issues that don’t concern that part of your life, to be the best person you can be. At the same time set a goal/vision for yourself that aim towards your gay life and where do you see yourself in let’s say a year from now? What positive attributes and traits do you wish to expand on? This would be a very pro active start.

Attractiveness overall definitely comes from within. I too am very turned on by beautiful men, but it’s an instant gratification thing which in the long run means nothing. I've felt for a couple of guys some were pretty (models) and some were not. The guy I lost my heart to was not classically beautiful but he was the most amazing man I’ve ever met, he was so intoxicating I hung to every single word he uttered. 

So being the best version of yourself will bring your beauty to front and there is no perfection, only in imperfection, it’s a natural law and you are bigger than the sum of your parts. Maybe you should write one positive thing for every negative thing you focus on. Negative things are unavoidable and part of life, but it does skew one's mindset and warp the way you view yourself. 
[  End  ]

He's right. I need to shift all of my energy and focus it to developing myself into the person I want to be, rather than letting this gay thing drown me. And deep down, I've actually known for a while as to what he's talking about, and what I'm supposed to do, even before he actually put it all into words for my eyes to register it into my head. I sent him an email telling him how he's making a lot of sense. That his advice is so simple and straightforward but yet, so hard to follow because I can't, no wait, refuse to let go.

I am not focus, which is also another problem. I am very distracted, adrift in my own negativity because I am lost and I can't seem to find something concretely positive to look forward to. I'm at a moment where I came to realise so many things about myself and how the remaining portion of my journey in life is going to be taking a different turn from now on. All because of an additional burden to consider, and that is, I'm an insecure guy who is sexually attracted to guys. Adding that to my already seemingly imperfect baggage, it's just a lot to take in.

A person doesn't dwell in negativity for kicks. It exists for a reason. Negativity arises due to the lack of light, the loss of motivation and the absence of something to strive or look forward to. I am indeed crestfallen at my situation because I don't seem to be getting anywhere close to being on track and working towards the fulfilling gay life I want. I'm not even close to encountering any positive gay experiences to help broaden some perspectives or lift my hopes, I don't know... 

I got to thinking the other day that maybe I would be a happier person, if I would just for once stop tormenting myself and let it go. I questioned my subconscious out of frustration: 

"Do you wanna know why you're so goddamn unhappy? It's because you are actually a shallow insecure person in hiding. There. I just admitted it. You revel so much in focusing on the wrong things and allow them to drown you rather than channelling that energy to nurse your inner self."

"If only you would stop being so insecure. If only you would stop allowing your sexuality to affect the way you function. If only you would stop thinking that being gay is so hard in this world. If only you would stop sweating the shallow gay stuff like physical insecurity and hot guys. If only you would stop letting the superficial stuff get into you."

"Maybe, just maybe you might actually be happier, less negative and more at peace. Maybe you might just 'let go'. You are your own problem."

Which reminds me of a saying I came across a few days ago:
"People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar." - Thich Nhat Hanh

Is this what it is?

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Believing in Alignment and Opportunities

I was doing some research on the names and credibility of several successful people from high profile companies and I got to thinking: How? What does it take? Not everyone gets the chance to taste success, and I of all people know that very well. I took a good look at myself and started weighing the odds. I've always known that somewhere deep down in my heart, I was meant to achieve something more substantial, beyond the ordinary. But at an age where I can't even seem to stand straight, I just don't know if I could trust that feeling or if I'm truly made for it. I don't even know if I'm ever going to be okay in life.

As an inbetweener in all things, I was never the most intelligent or the most creative, neither was I the most prestigious or the most acknowledged, the best performing or the most competent. In fact, I was always just average and very determined. Determination and perseverance was what drove me in life. It worked, but it's never enough. It's a long shot to being great, but how am I going to turn what I am, what I want, all that I've been and all that I have into something successful?

If there is one thing I'm truly afraid of now, is to continue being this person, in this body and still not make it in life. As I reflected on how my journey has played out, of how I couldn't accept myself and all that my past entails, I am spurred with a new-found motivation to change my story and all that I am about. I'm tired of being the same. I want the promising future to erase all of the painful inadequacies that I've felt in the past, and to give myself some form of new found contentment or achievement, I don't know...

While figuring out if I'll ever get the chance to rise and achieve success at that respectable level, I couldn't help but wonder if pure substance (what we're made off) is what determines the course of life and fate of a person, or is there really some other secret element at play?

Then I remembered a conversation I had recently with a friend about opportunities.

"Wow, so X and Y got accepted into Institution A huh?"
"I'm not surprised, considering how they're top performers and are very tenacious about this career choice. They really got what they deserve."

"Yeah, but J was somehow rejected by both Institution A and Institution B (prestigious top two), but was accepted into Institution W (prestigious third)."

"What? How can that be!"
"It's J! I've always considered him to be a star on a podium of its own. One that is brighter than the other two stars, X and Y."

"I don't know what happened... But he was very disappointed that he didn't get into Institution A."
"In fact he was kinda jealous when X and Y got accepted." (chuckles)

"Aaw really? Well it actually doesn't matter because I think he'll make it big regardless of whichever school he goes to. Everybody knows that."
"He really is a person of substance and I just feel that if you are truly blessed with such innate talent, it will not go unnoticed."

"You know, I truly envy J because of all the endless opportunities that just seem to turn up for him in life."

"What do you mean opportunities? How so?"

"Recently by coincidence, he met a business couple who was completely blown away by his work."
"They wanted him immediately. They gave him a huge opportunity and got him on board a design project they were working on. He's now heavily involved in the development."

Me: [speechless]

"Yeah! He really will go far because of his luck."
"And I personally think that he doesn't even need the reputation of Institution A or B on his academic qualifications to help define his innate star quality."

"Oh in a class of its own, that's true."
"I've always felt that J has a certain star quality in him that both X and Y just never seems to exude, Institution A or not."

"Well I don't know if I'll go, but think I'll give Institution A a try next year by sending in my application."
"You know, just to see if I can get in. Then we'll take it from there."

"Wow, you are? That's good."
"But wait, aren't you afraid of how you're gonna go up against the legions of overwhelming talent again?"
"I mean we went through that together last year and it was exhausting..."

"Initially yes!" 
"But now after working, I realised that it's actually not so much of what you are made of but what comes your way." 
"You don't have to be the best to succeed, you just need the right opportunities to come."

How true! Instantaneously, I realised that opportunities are what tips the turns and experiences in your life more than anything else. The difference can sometimes be life changing. It's all about the timing and the decisions we make, the readiness to receive what's to come and the luck to catch the right fate. Without the aforementioned opportunities, I wouldn't have seen what I've seen, did what I did, experienced what I've experienced and be the lucky person that I am today (yes yes, I'll admit to some good things). Therefore, as a late-developing inbetweener who yearns to achieve success and also as a tenacious asker of life's questions, is this what it all boils down to? Opportunities? Something beyond our control? Opportunities to meet someone, opportunities to go somewhere, opportunities to do something? I don't know! Life is so unpredictable and this is what scares the shit out of me. Not knowing what or how things are going to turn out.

However, one thing's for sure. If I'm fated to never get out of being this average unhappy person, then I might as well, with the belief and help of opportunities, try and make a success out of myself (career wise and also in terms of living life as a soulfully rich person). 10 years from now, do I still want to be Gay & Invisible or Gay & Invisible But Successful? There is a choice to make and either I've just convinced myself with this post, or wasted another day spilling my hearts out on this space I have come to regard as my comfort zone because I have no where else to turn.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Butterflies Don't Know the Colour of Their Wings

"Butterflies don't know the colour of their wings, but human eyes know how beautiful it is. Likewise, you don't know how good you are, but others can see that you are special."

I hope.