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Monthly Archives: November 2012

I’m Just A Kid

For most of my life, this photo most accurately depicts how I felt internally and eventually became externally. This is an actual photo of me in college.  I think it was in Tennessee and the figure is a wax figure of the worlds tallest man.

In my world, everyone was bigger than me mentally and physically… and bigger meant better.  I constantly felt out-of-place and rarely felt accepted.  Everyone was better than me and in my mind, they deserved more than I did.  I willingly and sometimes unwillingly  took a back seat to everyone. If ever and whenever I  was offered a middle or front seat, I promptly declined.  Even in college and school, I sat in the back of the class when possible.

I simply didn’t deserve to be in the front or the middle with the smart, important people. In my mind, I did not deserve to be treated equally or fair.  After all… I was just a stupid kid with little value or worth who was different from all the other people in his life. When I say “different” I meant dumb, stupid, odd, unaccepted and unworthy. I was neither smart, cute, confident or capable.  I lacked self-esteem and struggled with depression and acceptability as long as I can remember.  Even as far back as kindergarten and earlier.

I never had the proverbial best friend that I could trust, rely upon and be safe with.  As early as I can remember I knew that I was different in my attraction to males.  I had no idea until elementary school that I was not supposed to be attracted to my same-sex.  So I learned to suppress and hide at a really young age.  If you will read earlier posts, you will read that suicide was a daily battle for me.

My memories of Kindergarten are quite vivid, I shared that in an earlier post,  but my memory fades quite a bit until third grade.  I sorta-kinda remember where my classroom was for 1st and 2nd grade and I know that I did not like my teachers.  One was Mrs. Moncrief.  Her name alone frightened the Be-Jesus out of me.  She was super dark-skinned and she as well as my 2nd grade teacher whose name I do not remember at all sat in back of the class.  I HATED when the teacher sat in the back of the class instead of the front. I always got busted for talking, shuffling, fidgeting, tearing paper, eating paper, getting up and walking around.  I was disconnected and had zero interest.  I didn’t fit in.  I was afraid and nervous, and the teacher sitting in BACK of me made it almost unbearable.

I do however remember 3rd Grade.  It was one of the most positive experiences.   Miss Edie was young and vibrant.  She kept me engaged and was always kind.  She had an end-of-the-year party at her apartment where she had food and dancing.  She even picked up all the students whose parents could not or would not bring their kids.  Black and White… she had no favorites.  For some reason she always made me feel safe and I trusted her.  I don’t know what was so different about her but I do know that there was something memorable.

She was a new teacher at our small elementary school and was “not from deez here parts” if ya know what I mean. I have no idea where she hailed from, but she was clearly comfortable with our poor, uneducated, and multi-cultural, blue-collar community in our very small town of Baldwin, Louisiana.

I secretly think that she realized that I was a very ‘different” boy child and she gave me the attention that a confused, anxious, depressed, severely A.D.D. child needed to survive 3rd grade.  At the end-of-the-year-party, she gave each student a paperback book.  The book she gave me was Stuart Little by E.B. White.  I had it just until recently when my two children either tore it or it fell apart.  None the less, I believe that it is not ironic that she gave me that specific book.  I was very small in stature and needed lots of attention.  Miss Edie…  If you are out there somewhere.  I appreciate you.

I cant wait to tell you about my 4th grade teacher in a future post.

I said all that to say this.  I didn’t choose to be “different,” I just AM different, and by different, I mean gay. As a matter of fact, I did EVERYTHING in my power to choose to be Un-Gay.  We are created the way that we are.  Isn’t it the religious who scream at abortion clinics that “God doesn’t make mistakes!”?  The why, oh why does that position suddenly change when it comes to being gay?  That is a question that you must answer for yourself.  I have chosen to say that God did not MAKE me gay.  He ALLOWED me to be gay.  Gay is not a disease, a curse, a sin or a sickness.  How does an elementary-aged KID choose to be attracted to the same-sex?  The question is rhetorical at best.

If I could choose to be Gay, then surely I could choose to be Un-gay right?  If I chose to be gay, then when did you choose to be heterosexual?  No C’mon… it’s an honest question that deserves and answer.  When did you CHOOSE to be heterosexual?  Oh you didn’t…????  What’s that???  You were born that way????  Born that way really?  Why do you get to be “born that way” but gay people don’t?  I thought that God didn’t make junk or mistakes.  Good thing is that I have learned to subscribe to that.  I am not junk… I am not a mistake.  I am God’s man, in God’s place and in God’s time.  He is my creator.  I owe Him the respect to live authentic with dignity, worth and respect for myself and others.

It has even been suggested that I go to a class or classes that will make me UN-Gay.  Hmmmmmm????…. Really…Like so many others who have been to these “classes” or “rehab” only to come out more confused and depressed than when they entered?  Even Exodus International has now refused to make claims that NO ONE can be CURED from being gay.  They still teach that “acting on it” is a sin.  I don’t subscribe to this position.  I challenge any heterosexual to NOT “act on” the feelings and love that they have for their spouse or significant other.  The divorce rate would be much greater than 52%.  That proposition is stupid at best.

Here is a suggestion for ya.  If I can be “taught” to be un-gay, then I should be able to take a heterosexual person and send them to a “get-Gay” class or rehab.  If it works one way, then it MUST work the other.  That is ridiculous you say???  I concur.  It IS ridiculous.

I no longer feel like everyone in the world is bigger, better or more deserving than me.  I have accepted that I am loved by a Great Big God who sees beyond misinterpreted or “culturally interpreted” scriptures.  He sees beyond the legalism that we call good and bad.  I am equal to those that surround me and those that I allow into my life.  It doesn’t change that from time to time that I struggle with abandonment of family and friends.  It doesn’t change that I need course correction from time to time.  It doesn’t change that I’m still just a kid from the Louisiana swamps.  But what has changed is that I now know that I am living authentic.  I love how I am “showing up” these days.

I don’t ask you to “change” your belief structure… but do ask yourself.  Is this MY belief structure or is it a belief structure that I have inherited?  Don’t tell me what the BIBLE says until you KNOW what the Bible says… not what someone else told you the Bible says.  As a matter of fact… don’t tell me you are a Christian… show me. Don’t tell me what the Bible “says”… show me.

I am deeply thankful to those who have displayed grace and love toward me even when I know that you disagree with me.  I am even more thankful to those who have sent notes or emails challenging me in my belief and opinion while maintaining respect and dignity for me as a person even though we will likely never agree.  Remember… If you believe that your God is a big and powerful and loving as you say He is, then you don’t have to “defend” Him.  He is capable to do exceedingly abundantly more than you.

Thanks for reading and Sharing…

Chet Lloyd DeRouen

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2 Comments

Posted by on November 17, 2012 in Journey to Authenticity, Uncategorized

 

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From My Mouth To Your Ears

ImageIt’s been awhile since I’ve had a blog entry.  Why is that, you ask?  I’m so glad you did.  Several reasons.  I’ve been super busy loving life and enjoying this beautiful weather in Phoenix.  Went on our annual cruise as family.  Feeling so good that I’ve been doing some projects here and there.  The final reason is one that I don’t like to mention, but since I’ve decided to be candid, I’ll say it.  I’ve been a bit out of sorts lately and feeling somewhat angry and hurt.  I don’t usually like to blog when I’m feeling out of sorts.  I like to write about happy stuff.  

With that said, I must begin by saying that I’m super sick of the condescending haters that are former friends and family who have “disappeared” and chosen not to be in our life, yet they “peek in” on our Facebook pages to “keep current” on the happenings in our life.  I’ve allowed it to happen for awhile.  No longer though.  Two words… GO AWAY!  You made your choice to sever ties now sever already.  Stop pretending to be our friend only to gather more fodder for yourself.  It’s so unbecoming.  This has caused me to LOCK DOWN my Facebook account, delete people from my “friend” list and block several others.  Some were so easy to delete and block, but others were quite difficult to be honest.  

The person who wins the award for being the meanest to me is a lady that I have never met.   She has been cold, heartless and rude.  …and that is being kind.  She is a subscriber to my blog and I am taking this time to call her out and kindly ask you to go away and mind your business.  Yes I have blocked you on Facebook too.  My former wife and children don’t need your bigoted information, suggestions or hateful words.  ’nuff said.

So for those who want a real update, here it is directly from me.  We are no longer married.  We ARE best friends.  We DO attend Church together as we are Christians who practice our faith in a loving, saving, holy God.  We absolutely DID just vacation together with our children on a cruise ship in the southern Caribbean with our dear friends.Image  We had a blast and intend to vacation together next year as a family.  We DO still reside in our family home and will continue to do so.  I am not in relationship with my parents and siblings but not for a lack of trying on my part.  For proper disclosure, the relationship with my sisters was broken before I began living authentic as a gay man.  I couldn’t contact my sisters if I wanted as the youngest has filed an order of protection against me after she posted  nasty, false information (that she gathered from a former friend of the family) about us on her FB page.  My children are happy, healthy and whole and my oldest has told me how proud she is of me and is so happy that we have decided to keep our family together.  Finally… for all of you that are just dying to know, yes, I am in an exclusive relationship with an incredible man who has a 13 year old daughter.  

While living life as a heterosexual man was enormously difficult for me, my former wife and children, I simply was not prepared for how difficult and emotional “coming out” would be.  How could I be right?  I’ve pretended to be “straight” for 42 1/2 years. I’ve never lived “gay.”  I wasn’t prepared for the bigots and haters as well as the loving and kind.  Both religious/Christian and non-religious/non-Christian, family and friends.  Managing all the emotions has been completely overwhelming while at the same time it has been refreshing.  With the holidays approaching and the recent birthdays of my two daughters, this has been a very difficult time.  My girls look forward to having birthday dinner with their grandparents every year.  Especially at age 7 and 10 they are able to express where they would like to eat.

While birthday dinners went on this year without a hitch, they both questioned why their grandparents were not there.  That alone will break a father’s heart.  But ONWARD we march.  Life sucks from time to time and all I can do is assure them that NO MATTER what happens or whatever choice they make, their father AND mother will be there for them. We may disagree from time to time, but we will not abandon them.  I also assure them that their grandparents love them but just don’t know how to express it right now.  Hopefully there will come a time when that relationship can become manageable.  I do find that when I am assuring my children about this, that I am actually attempting to assure myself.  

Each year we have hosted a Christmas party at our home.  It has become a fun time with family and friends.  Typically by this time each year, several people have contacted us find out the date of the party.  This year… no such inquiries.  No worries.  The party will go on!  ImageThe guest list will be modified though.  

It is crazy how people feel like they have to choose sides.  How they have to have “standards” when it comes to them choosing and maintaining friends.  When you choose friends that way, you better damn-near be perfect.  I no longer need those people in my life.  It’s exhausting.  

So while some of you see this as airing my “dirty laundry,” I see this as cleansing my soul and replacing truth with untruth and gossip.  I no longer have a reason to hide or be secretive.  I have nothing to hide or anything to be shameful of.

I am sad that I have lost friends and family.  I am hurt that some see my authenticity as sinful, ungodly or shameful.  I am wounded that people only wish to associate with me as long as I fit into their long list of guidelines of what normal and right is in THEIR mind.

I am happy and joyful that I have a best friend, children, friends and a boyfriend that stand with me in support, love, grace and mercy even when I am not perfect.

While I know the boyfriend part is difficult for some of you to accept or fathom, I accept that we are all growing and learning together in this wonderful event that we call life.

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2012 in Journey to Authenticity

 

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