Queer Year in Review

Once again, I find myself looking at the calendar to find the words “April 1st” written in simple letters. And once again, I find myself thinking about the special significance those words have for me. For those who may be new to this blog or my life, those words mark the anniversary of the day I came out to myself and a very good friend. And while I stated last year that I’m not big on commemorating yearly anniversaries of “life-changing events,” I’ve decided that I will make note of this particular anniversary again this year. Perhaps my opinion on such commemorations is changing, and this will become a normal practice for me. Or perhaps this is just one more of a tiny number of exceptions to that attitude. In the end, it doesn’t matter. I simply feel called to write this post, and I will do so. I’ll worry about the implications some other day.

Part of the reason I feel particularly called to do this again this year is that this has been a year of changes for me, sexuality-wise. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I’m still a raging homo with an attitude. I sincerely doubt that will ever change. But over the past year, I think I’ve gone through some growth periods that will ultimately allow me to express my sexuality more freely and comfortably. So this anniversary post is about reviewing a few of those changes.

I think the most notable change came around my thirty-second birthday this past June. I spent the weekend hanging out at the psychic fair that the POC did. I spent both days ogling the cute guys that walked through and talking about them with a friend the entire time. Now, this isn’t entirely a new practice for me. However, it was the first time I’ve done so without trying to be a little discreet and worrying about whether the guys I’m checking out noticed. As this particular weekend went by, however, I became less and less concerned about anyone noticing. I got bolder, and probably more than a little out of control by the time the event was over. I remember one friend sat by me and commented that if I kept making some of the sounds (mostly a very interested “hmmm” sounds), people were going to realize what I was doing. In that moment, I realized that I really didn’t care if they did. I figured if some guy realized I was checking him out, he should feel flattered. And if he was really flattered, he should come over and say hi!

That same weekend, my attitudes about myself and my body started to change. I began to realize that I really was a good looking guy. I also realized that I needed to come to believe in myself as a sexually attractive man, despite my own hang-ups about my body-image. Since June, that’s been a highly common theme in my life, and I’ve found an increasing ability to look in the mirror and smile, knowing that there really is a good looking guy smiling back at me from that reflective surface.

Of course, my recent relationship, though terribly short-lived, also helped me in that realm. The young man I ended up getting involved with went through a great deal of effort to pursue me (though not as much effort as the next one may find necessary, as I’ve now found the bliss of being pursued) gave me the first inkling that yes, there really were guys out there who could also see my allure. And despite my sadness over how things went, that realization is something I continue to carry with me, and hopefully always will.

The other major change in my life has been Journey, of course. The past year has involved a germination process which ended in the site’s release just this past month. However, the idea for the book can probably be traced back to this past summer as well.

One of my greatest goals since coming out has been to encourage and help other gay and bisexual people in their own self-discovery and coming out process. It’s a goal that I first reached towards just a year or two after my own coming out when I wrote a moving essay encouraging others to accept themselves for who they are. To me, Journey is an extension of that same effort.

I originally started formally collecting notes for Journey and even writing a very rough draft back in October. I still have the journal I used, and have even referred to it to see if I missed anything when writing the pages for the site. Back then, I had planned on turning Journey into a book, which had no title. It wasn’t until events in March convinced me that a website was the preferred medium for the project.

Writing Journey has been a journey in itself. Indeed, it’s become part of the very journey I’m writing about, just a later part of the story. It’s given me many chances to look back at many of the struggles I’ve faced and wounds I’ve needed to heal and gauge my progress. In many cases, it has been exhilarating and shown me in concrete ways just how much I’ve healed in grown. In some cases, it’s served as a somewhat painful reminder of those areas where I still need to work. In the end, I find myself wondering who will benefit most from the project when all is said and done. Those I had in mind when starting it or myself?

As I sit here today, thinking about all of these things, I find myself filling with a peaceful contentment and glowing pride. While I never saw it during most of the past twelve months, I can consider these things and realize that I’ve done a lot of growing in the past year. But more importantly, I can see the next layer of foundation that I laid to continue that growth process over the coming year. So my contentment and pride are ultimately married with a sense of anticipation and excitement for the next stage of the journey. Is there a better position to be in than that?

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