RSS

Monthly Archives: December 2012

A Christmas Gift I Shall Never Forget

ImageAs many of you have been following my journey of coming out as a Christian Gay Man, some of you have doubted my faith, my belief system and my real intentions.  You have also read of me not being in relationship with some family and friends over my need to be authentic as a gay man.

As I have blogged and posted, I have been learning right along with you.  You see… much of this blog is not intended for you.  It is for me.  I have just chosen to let you share it.  I have learned so much about myself that I have run and hid from for most of my life.

As a new year approaches, January 1st marks the 1 year anniversary of the real Chet Lloyd DeRouen.  The Chet that God created to be whole, healthy and happy.  The Chet that God created to be a light.  A light to who?  Whoever needs light. Mostly to myself.  I have no agenda when it comes to that. I am God’s and He is mine.  The God in me honors the God in you.  Namaste!Image

With that said, I have been clear that my relationship with my parents has been less than desirable.  Not just because I am gay, but because I have not known how to love honestly, how to trust sincerely and how to live authentically.  I have mentioned in previous posts how I have been shallow, weak, hurtful and untruthful about some things in my life.  I have expected thing of others that I would never subscribe to myself.  I have not honored the God in others.

This Christmas-eve will be an evening that I shall never forget.  You see.. I had convinced myself that if I did not hear from my parents before Christmas, that the likelihood of me reconciling with them ever, would be slim-to-none.  I needed somehow to move on from the   pain that I was feeling.  I committed to leaving a space in my heart for them no matter what happened, but I was going to move on as best that I could.  Always realizing that there would be a hole but accepting that I could live with that.

So as I left Christmas Eve Service with my two children and my former wife.  Yes… we chose to celebrate together as a family…  We rec’d an unexpected phone call from my mother asking if it was OK to leave presents at the door for my children.  We have not seen them in months.  The answer from me was an immediate yes!  I didn’t even have to think about it.  I further stated that It would be nice if we were there to receive the gifts after we finished a Christmas Eve dinner at a restaurant.  She said that they were at our door.  I made a quick U-Turn and drove directly home. Dinner could wait, resolution and restoration could not.  We are not promised tomorrow.

As Christmas day was approaching, I had almost given up that I would see or hear from my parents.  God had a different plan.  I was not afraid nor was I nervous.  I have begun learning that If I want my life to play out differently, that I must behave and “show up” differently.

I showed up differently, I wasn’t the little boy who was scared, I wasn’t the teenager who couldn’t seem to find his place in society as a gay person.  I was a man, and adult.  I barely put the car in park and I jumped out of the car and embraced my mother first.  She was so much smaller and shorter than I remember.  Fragile in a sense.  I saw her like I had never seen her before.  She was not just my mother but a caring, supportive being that wanted to be in right relationship with her son.  We said nothing to each other but an occasional “I love you” was whispered back and forth.  We said nothing else, because nothing else needed to be said.  We continued to embrace and each kissed each other on the cheek.  I apologized for hurting her spirit.

I knew it was time to embrace my father.  I have been afraid of men my whole life.  I was deeply afraid because I didn’t measure up to their physical strength or masculinity.  So I did.  We embraced and I also saw him like I had never seen before.  I felt like a giant.  I felt huge and safe. I showed up as a man and not boy.  We embraced and I kissed him on each cheek with a holy, humbling kiss of reconciliation.  We cried together.  I apologized to him as well for being so angry, hurtful and mean.  He sincerely had no idea what he had done to harm is boy.  I believe him. We said nothing else other than many “I love you’s.”  Nothing else need to be said.  No explanation of how we hurt each other. No attempt to blame one another… that would have only brought further damage and harm.  Just hugs and kisses of restoration and reconciliation.

Over the past few months, I have humbled myself and have reconciled with so many people who I have intentionally and unintentionally harmed.  It was a step that I needed to take to become a healthy, adult-being and not a whimpering, whining-child.  Owning my faults it the first step.  Correcting and changing my shortcomings is the second part.  Recognizing a fault is simply that.  It’s like saying I am the way I am… and oh well… just deal with it…  Attending to that fault is what will bring change, reconciliation and healing.  I no longer care who is right and who is wrong.  There is no way to heal or restore when all we want to do is point the finger at who behaved MORE badly than the other.  ImageWe don’t have to go through the trash can and identify who’s trash is whom’s.  We simply must put the trash container at the curb and let it be REMOVED to the landfill with all the other trash.  There is no healing in owning trash.  We don’t have to peel the rug back and have each person identify whose dirt is whom’s.  Just remove the rug, sweep out the all the dirt. Mine and Yours…  we may even consider throwing out the rug altogether so that we cannot push dirt under there any longer.  Keep everything on the table.  Keep asking God to change us instead of the other person. There is no moving forward while tying yourself to your past.

I do not regret standing up for myself through my “coming out” process.  I had a wife and children to protect.  It was those steps that helped to bring me into an understanding of Mercy, Grace and Love for others.

I have become a fan of Iyanla Vanzant… actually, I have become a fan of owning who I want to become as a Man, A Father, A Son, A Friend, A Co-Worker and so on.  So I read Rev. VanVant’s post today on Facebook and it resonated deep into my Soul.

The third paragraph is my new mantra.  Image Happy Holidays To You Beloveds!


What a wonderful season we have entered! A season of new birth, renewal and regeneration. A season of rest and reflection. A season of holiness and sacredness. This is the season to get clear about how we will enter the New Year and how we choose to experience the new life that is resting just beneath the surface, waiting to be born.

This is the moment, God, that the old becomes the new and the fulfillment of Your Perfecting Presence is realized.

I now ask and open myself to be delivered, freed from and forgiven for entertaining fear, anger, guilt, shame, resentment, bitterness, judgment and dishonesty, in all forms whether directed at myself or toward others.
I now ask and open myself to receive your love and Presence in all the places within me from which these dark energies have been removed.
I now ask that you lift the veil of littleness from my eyes so that your Spirit and Presence will become the Governor in the capital of my consciousness.

I rest in Thee knowing that because I ask placing my trust in you, it is already done and manifesting with clarity.
I can hardly wait to see, feel and experience the good as it unfolds in me, as me and through me.

I let it Be.
And So It Is Now All that I call Good and God.
Amen
Ashe!

Rev. Dr. Iyanla Vanzant

Advertisements
 
6 Comments

Posted by on December 25, 2012 in Journey to Authenticity

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Gift of the Peacock – Namaste!

 

 

It is amazing how much change can take place in one year.  I know this to be fact.  I went from pretending to be straight/heterosexual to accepting that I, in fact am gay.  I went from being married to a beautiful, strong, stable woman to being in a relationship with a strong, stable, supportive man.  It will be one year on January 1st, that I chose to be honest with my wife of 14 1/2 years and honest with my children, myself, my family and friends.

I have said it multiple times before that If I knew that being honest, authentic and real would cost me so much, that I may have just skipped to plan “B” of suicide.  I am thankful to my God for keeping me from committing such a selfish, irreversible act.  I have found such contentment and happiness in truth.

peacock Yesterday I presented my boyfriend (and yes… it is just as awkward for me to say this as it is for you to read it) with a Christmas present that he has wanted for a long time. I had no idea that he has wanted it for over two decades.  He wanted a peacock for his yard at his historic home in downtown Phoenix that was built in 1920.  I knew that buying him a peacock would be destined for fierce innuendo.  Let’s just put that on the table. The innuendo almost kept me from making this purchase for him.  A peacock… really… you want a peacock?  Come on… fa serious???… couldn’t he have wanted a flamingo or something… at swan maybe. How about some ducks?  Something a little less “gay.” NOPE… He wanted a peacock. So guess what?  A peacock is just what he got.  Not a peahen… A PEACOCK.  Par for the course… a gay man giving his boyfriend a peacock.  Well… enough innuendo.  I gave him a beautiful bird that is graceful and beautiful.

St SebastianSo what does he name it… Oh the fun and innuendo continue.  SEBASTIAN.  Yep… that’s right.  He named him after the patron “gay” saint.  I had no idea that gay’s had a saint!  I was taught that all gays were evil… heathens who were part of satan’s team.  I have so much to learn…  So now we have a gay man giving his boyfriend a peacock that is named Sebastian after a gay saint.  Hmmmm…  What?…  am I just desperate for laughs and giggles.  I surely must be. Do I not have enough drama in my life?  I guess God loves laughter.

So where am I going with this?  I’m so A.D.D. that I almost forgot.  OK… now  I remember… So yesterday is the first time that I have been to church in a couple of months.  I gotta be honest, I am sick over how I have been treated (directly and indirectly) by my friends and family who are church-goers.  Notice I didn’t say Christian… I’ve learned to separate the two, ’cause to be honest, I just don’t know anymore.  I’m shocked at how unkind and passive-aggressive they have been.  Two people even deactivated their Facebook pages for “personal reasons” only to re-activate it after they unfriended me.  It is beyond hurtful.

I’m just hoping that these folks are as perfect as they believe that they are.  You know who you are and I now know who you are.  I know a lot of your imperfectness and I still considered you dear to me and a friend.  Only now I see that our friendship was not mutual.  I guess that our divide is too great for mutual friendship and respect.  Not on my part.  I recently sent my father a birthday greeting even though we are not in relationship right now.  I wrote to him, “I don’t want assume how you feel about me, and I don’t want you to assume how I feel about you.  Happy Birthday, I love you.  Nothing more, nothing less.”  Why is it that we assume how others feel about us?  I don’t want to live that way anymore. I am happy to report that he responded.  🙂

Now back to the peacock.  I was taken aback at how many negative and rude comments that people made on my boyfriend’s Facebook page when he posted that he had received a gift that he longed for over 20 years.  How in the world can you look at such a graceful, beautiful creature of God and only see that “those birds are so loud!?”  Are you kidding me… are you that shallow?  That is like throwing away your Mercedes-Benz just because it is loud when it starts?  It’s like saying you hate children or people who talk.  The bird is only communicating.  He is calling out for companionship and friendship.  How is that in any fashion UGLY or BAD.  It’s such a “cup-half-empty” mentality.  If you look for the worst, you will find it quickly.  You are better than that.  …And if you think for a moment that you are without fault, then please do us all a favor and move to the country of perfect…a land that doesn’t exist silly.

So as I went to church yesterday, I was reminded that I am far from perfect and that I have flaws.  A lot of flaws.  Being gay is not one of them.  I was reminded that I am light.  Light of God…and that is a perfect gift.

Later yesterday evening, a VERY DEAR friend who has been a mother/sister to me for years and I were texting each other.  She shared this with me: “My favorite thing is to be able to give the The Perfect Gift & that’s what you did for your boyfriend.  I read his comments on Facebook and know how thrilled he is.  I cannot relate to his desire to own one, but it is very beautiful.  I know his pleasure feels like a give back to you.  I love that feeling!”

She is sooooo right.  I replied back: “That is an Amazing feeling.  I hope that God feels that way about me…”

This is one lady that ALWAYS has water (or something) in her glass.  Why? …glad you asked.  Because even if she has just a drop… her cup is NOT empty.  It’s a choice.  She saw the beauty not only in the peacock, but in the response of my boyfriend.  His response of shock-and-awe was enough to not even care how “loud” the bird can be when he is looking for companionship and company, but to see one of his dreams to come true.  His appreciation was the BEST GIFT that he could have given to me in return.  Now he wants a peahen too… go figure!

The peacock Sebastian is not perfect.  He gets loud, he poops, shed feathers every year and can even peck you if he feels threatened.  But don’t be so cup-half-empty.  He is graceful and beautiful and is so relaxing to sit on the swing and watch him prance… like a good gay bird.  LOL.

Sooo…  We are all far from perfect yet we continue to act blameless and “better-than” when we shun others who are not “like” us or share a different belief system.  This my friend is so cup-half-empty.  I speak to myself here.  When I blog, I blog for ME, I have just chosen to share my life lessons with you. This is not “directed” at anyone in particular.  If you should choose to find value in my sharing, then please let me know.  If you find no value, please give yourself permission to stop reading.

So as I reflect back to the peacock who is quite a disturbance at times, the greater reality is that he is God’s light and creation.  I have an obligation to seek the good and minimize the unpleasant.

So I end my post today with a beautiful greeting:namaste

The God in me honors the God in you.

We are His Light. NAMASTE!

 

 
2 Comments

Posted by on December 24, 2012 in Journey to Authenticity, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

…On being gay

This post is COPIED AND PASTED from an article that I read this week.  It changed my perspective on being gay.  It challenged some of my belief system and caused me to think differently.  I’m not asking you to agree, just give it a quick read and try to understand that your NORMAL may be very different from another’s NORMAL.  So who is right and who is wrong.  I would argue that neither is…  Different is just different.

Here is the article in full:

This year Out has named Nate Silver its man of the year. This is very cool.

I had no clue Silver was gay. He’s got a nice, interchangeably Jewish name, which, in the context of politics and journalism, just seemed normal. Therefore, I assumed he was “normal” for that job in most other ways: mid-50s, white, heterosexual.

But he’s not. He’s 34 and gay, which is awesome. The “Out 100” has, for most of its history, been dominated by performers (most of whom came out well into their careers) and activists working to promote gay rights — professional gays or folks in gay professions. So now, at long last, we have a dude who’s doing something unrelated to homosexuality who killed it this year. Good for us, no?

Well, no, actually. “To my friends, I’m kind of sexually gay but ethnically straight,” Silver says in the Out feature. He is also said to consider “gay conformity as perfidious as straight conformity.”

“He recalls a series of flagpoles in Boystown in Chicago memorializing various gay Americans. ‘There was one little plaque for Keith Haring, and it was, like, “Keith Haring, gay American artist…” and I was like, Why isn’t he just an American artist? I don’t want to be Nate Silver, gay statistician, any more than I want to be known as a white, half-Jewish statistician who lives in New York.'”

So is identification with homosexuality dehumanizing to us? Does it turn us from individuals into a lumped-together mass of stereotypes? Not remotely. Silver’s refusal to fully participate in gay identity is the real problem. I’m not saying he’s a bad guy but that we must acknowledge the cultural forces that allow a person to participate in homosexual sex while feeling like the concerns, bigotries and culture that surround homosexuality do not apply to them.

I’ve previously argued that the distinctive qualities of homosexuality as a marginalized status are our relative invisibility in society, our diffusion and isolation within the population and the construct of us as frivolous. Silver’s discomfort identifying with gay culture is reflective of the forces that help impose that isolation.

One of the key requirements of being gay is having someone else to be gay with. Gays aren’t (usually) born to gay families, so we don’t grow up with organic connections to other gays. We also look just like everyone else, so we can’t easily identify our potential sexual partners or members of our community. The only way we can meet guys or girls, and thereby be gay, is finding each other. It’s also how we become politically powerful enough to protect ourselves and our rights. It’s how we become whole as people. We live in a culture that was built to stop us from externalizing our homosexuality, primarily by keeping us scared of hatred and retribution from heterosexuals if they could identify us, but also by making us fear associating with our own kind.

Nate Silver is participating in a continued construct of homosexuality as a behavior rather than a culture, perspective or neurological atypicality. It is not uncommon for people to say, “Gay is something I do, not who I am.” We are able to conceive of race and gender as aspects of a person’s identity without overwhelming it, but we, as a culture, persist in a terror that any cultural identification with homosexuality overwhelms and displaces all other aspects of one’s being.

One reason our culture prefers perceiving homosexuality as a behavior and not an identity is severability. Homosexuality as an act can be a sin or a crime. You can ask forgiveness for it. You can serve your time. You can resign from Congress and go back to your wife, and everyone still gets to act like you’re a regular “real” man.

The basic fact is that if you are attracted to people of the same biological sex, you will see the world differently and need some different cultural institutions to go about your life. Being gay means you understand people of the same-sex and opposite sex differently than most people do. Being gay means you need to have ways of finding gay people to have sex and relationships with. It also means an increased risk of alienation from your parents (until recently), growing up without conceiving of the possibility of legally marrying someone you’re sexually attracted to and being rejected by most traditional Western religions. Though we are spread throughout the population and look just the same as heterosexuals, gays have things in common.

Silver’s point about being ethnically straight is undercut by his own words. He prefers the gay life in Chicago because New York’s homo scene is “too diffuse,” and he speaks fondly of a nightclub in Chicago with “good house music and good strong drinks.” Silver recognizes the advantage of a city where gay guys are congregating based on sexuality instead of “just being people.” As I’ve said, how to find other gays is one of the core questions our culture has to answer. Gayborhoods may be ghettos, but they also answer that question. We also have to get full-grown men tipsy to flirt with them, so we need stronger drinks than a bar that’s structured for men to get women drunk enough to make bad decisions. Silver may not realize it, but he needs gay culture just as much as it needs him.

So why the refusal by many, gay and straight, to define gay men and women as a culture or subculture?

When I was 17, like a good, politically minded Jewish boy, I read Benjamin Netanyahu‘s book A Place Among the Nations. In it he explained that the Palestinians were not a people, just Jordanian tenant farmers with no distinct culture. I believed him. Then, a few years later, I was reading an article from Germany in the 19th century that explained that Yiddish wasn’t a real language, just corrupted German, a jargon. I started to realize that denying the existence of a culture is a really great way of denying the needs of that culture. Yiddish isn’t the language of a people, just bad German. Palestinians aren’t a distinct culture, just some people who should move out of Israel. Gay bars and Grindr aren’t the cultural tools of a people, just trashy behavior.

Keeping gays from identifying as a group is a great way of keeping us from supporting each other and our rights. But even the people who would deny our rights still acknowledge that we have shared culture. Any schoolyard bully or gender policing frat boy knows what a fag is. We have litanies of stereotypes for “fags” and “dykes,” and they’re just all kinda bad. So we want to define homosexuality as an act, define a culture associated with homosexuality, but insist upon the right of people committing homosexual acts to distance themselves from that culture.

So what’s wrong with that? Why does Nate Silver have to be “gay”? When Ricky Martin, Ellen or Anderson Cooper were playing the glass closet game, people kept asking, “Why do we have to know? Why does it matter?” Can’t Nate Silver just be a statistician?

No. Here’s why.

There’s a generalized presumption of heterosexuality in our society. If Nate Silver doesn’t identify as gay, it will allow everyone to do what I did: presume that he’s straight. We would thereby continue to define math as a thing straight people do. Gays and lesbians pretty much look like everybody else; we have names that are (mostly) just like everybody else’s. Neil deGrasse Tyson challenges people’s notions of what a black man and a scientist are when he shows up on TV, is visibly black and talks about science. Gays cannot be passively visible in the same way. We must be audible. If we want people to understand that gay people are just like everyone else, we can’t just be like everyone else. A quiet gay or lesbian mathematician, postal worker or pro football player will be assumed straight, because everyone knows gays and lesbians are just florists and women’s gym teachers. We need to make it safe for a person to be out in a non-traditionally gay field and not have it affect his or her work. Nate Silver being a gay statistician will help that.

Gay experiences are frequently ignored by society. White, heterosexual male perspective is integrated into all aspects of society, and any stuff that comes from a different perspective is viewed as tainted or a niche product. We need to accustom people to the idea that gays are more than a slutty parade and bathroom sex so that we can allow our perspective to enrich all disciplines. We need to make it safe for a statistician to be gay and have it affect their work, because some people are gay, some people are black, some people are women and all of those perspectives can enrich all fields. Nate Silver being a gay statistician will help that.

We cannot ignore that gays are a traditionally marginalized, stigmatized group. It’s still illegal to be gay in most of the world. We elected our first gay senator this year. It’s illegal for us to get married in 41 states. No NFL, MLB, NHL or NBA player has ever come out while playing. It is still hard to be gay, so deciding not to identify with gay culture cannot be seen as just another choice. It is the choice to avoid the bad thing. It is distancing yourself from all the negative stereotypes of gay culture. We can’t behave like Nate Silver’s choice to distance himself from gay culture is just another choice. It is the choice our society has engineered him to make, and him making it will engineer future gay men and women to make similar choices.

Look, gays are bad at identifying as a group. We’re born to (usually) heterosexual parents, and we don’t figure out we’re gay until we’re teenagers. We spend a long time not being gay before we are. If you’re a white boy, it’s easy to convince yourself that identity politics are for other weird, bad people. If you’re not white, you spend a lot of years inhabiting a different identity that can feel incompatible with being gay. Despite Silver’s concerns about gay conformity being as bad as straight conformity, the problem isn’t that we allow ourselves to disappear into homosexuality as an identity; it’s that we’re terrified and terrible at it.

And homosexuality is intimidating. It is a sexual minority group. That means that our compatriots are also our sexual objects. We are usually more concerned with finding sexual parters than forming a group identity or protecting our collective rights. Imagine how much harder it would have been for Martin Luther King to organize African-Americans if everyone at the AME church had been drunk and dressed kind of slutty. The sexual aspect of homosexuality involves a necessary aspect of danger and rejection that makes forming a supportive group culture really hard.

These problems are integral components of our identity and must be managed, but there’s a bigger problem with gay group identity that’s just the result of a homophobic culture: the construct of gays as vain, frivolous and embarrassing. Both Nate Silver and Out seem to be endorsing the idea that being simultaneously gay and a serious mathematician is unthinkable. Let’s think about this for a second. There aren’t really that many famous mathematicians in modern life, but undoubtedly two of the most famous are Alan Turing, the father of modern computer science, and John Nash, the Nobel Prize winner on whom the movie A Beautiful Mind was based. What do you think these boys had in common with ol’ Natie?

Both of them had sex with dudes. The two most famous mathematicians we’ve got were both gay or bisexual, but somehow Nate Silver can’t imagine being culturally gay and a serious mathematician. It’s not his fault; it’s our culture, and we’ve got to change it.

Gay men are men and, as such, do many of the things stereotypically associated with men. We like science, engineering and games about shooting people. Just about every gay guy I know read science fiction novels and played with action figures when he was in grade school. Yeah, we’re more comfortable sharing women’s interests than straight men are, but it doesn’t change the fact that we are still, chemically, men. Gay men go into all professions, but we are only allowed integrated identities if we go into traditionally gay (or female) professions. Choreographers, stylists and playwrights are allowed to be out gay men. NFL players, governors, Navy SEALs and mathematicians can and do have sex with other men, but they can’t talk about it.

Hey, remember A Beautiful Mind? We sure saw John Nash with his wife, didn’t we? But we didn’t really see him having any relationships with men, because it “got in the way” of his story. That’s because our culture won’t let homosexuality be an integrated part of a man’s life unless that life is risible. What was “don’t ask, don’t tell” but a legal regime to keep homosexuality dissociated from a way of life considered serious, important and masculine?

You might notice that the trend here is to define things that are serious and important as masculine. It’s clear that the gender policing of gay men is a subset of a larger problem of institutionalized misogyny. If we let Navy SEALs admit that they smoke pole, we might have to realize that women can be serious scientists, too. We might have to admit that all those choreographers, stylists and playwrights of either sex might have something valuable to contribute to society.

So we have to keep gay men psychologically broken.

A few months ago, Todd Glass, a well-established comic, came out of the closet on the popular comedy podcast WTF With Marc Maron. I’d been a fan of Glass for a decade. He’s a quick, rough, electric performer, the kind of guy other comics love. I had no clue he was gay — not that he said he was “gay” precisely. On the podcast he said he has sex with men and he is in a long-term relationship with a man, but that he doesn’t identify as “gay.” He said he doesn’t want to be associated with everything that word is associated with. Glass said he wouldn’t let his coming out change his approach to comedy, and he’d continue to never mention it onstage.

Later in the podcast, Todd started making jokes about the jealousy and resentment he feels when he sees young heterosexual couples holding hands in public. It was great, harsh and funny, precisely what I love about Todd Glass. It was also something I have felt. Todd Glass is a talented, amazing comic who has amazing insight on my life and perspective but who vows not to share those observations. It made me really sad. I want to hear Todd Glass’s jokes about being gay.

When Todd Glass said he wouldn’t change what he does onstage, the host of the podcast, the nice, liberal, broad-thinking Marc Maron, said, “Yeah, I don’t think you’ll be touring with Scott Capurro any time soon.” Scott Capurro is a well-regarded comic who’s been out for all of his career, but a comic who isn’t nearly as successful as Todd Glass is, in part because he’s been out for all of his career. The conversation was clearly defining that Scott Capurro was a “gay comic” and Todd Glass was a “good comic.” Todd won’t change; he won’t become a “gay comic”; he’ll stay a “good comic.”

So what the hell am I?

I am working my hardest to be a good gay comic. Nate Silver should be doing his best to be a stellar gay statistician.

When Phillip Roth started writing, he was a Jewish novelist, because real novelists didn’t write books about masturbating with a beef liver. When Toni Morrison started writing, she was a black novelist, because real novelists don’t have hair like a maid. In the intervening years, enough Jews wrote awesome, dirty books that Phillip Roth is now just a novelist. Toni Morrison still has to be a black novelist, but at least she’s done enough work that when someone sees an 80-year-old black woman with silvery locks, they realized that “Nobel Prize winner” is one of her possible professions.

So, yes, Nate Silver, Barack Obama has to be a black president, Tammy Baldwin has to be a lesbian senator and you have to be a gay statistician. Otherwise, people will never learn.

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hurricane Chet

Hurricane2I grew up on the Gulf of Mexico in Southwest Louisiana. If you know the Gulf Coast, you know that we are prone to hurricanes. Some have asked the question, “why are hurricanes always named after women?” Ha, ha, ha that’s so funny. Well I think the only answer is… have you ever heard of a Him-A-Cain? bah ha ha ha ha.

So what does gay and a hurricane have to do with each other? Well I’m certainly glad that you asked because to be honest with you, I think there’s a very huge correlation to “coming out.” Let me do my best to share my perspective.

Recently hurricane sandy did quite a bit of damage to the east coast. Or how about that little teeny inconspicuous Hurricane Katrina that just about obliterated New Orleans, Louisiana right off of the map. (I blame Bush… Hee Hee) There are a characteristics about a hurricane that I relate to on a super personal level. You see, hurricanes don’t just creep up on you like um… let’s say… A tornado or a blizzard or a tsunami. There are multiple signs and multiple characteristics of weather patterns that can help predict hurricanes, where they will take to land and the strength of the storm. Sometimes they are obvious sometimes not so obvious, nonetheless, you can still know that a hurricane is forming out over the water and heading towards land which gives you time to evacuate. There are typically 3 parts to a hurricane.

There is the front side of the hurricane, the eye of the hurricane and then there is the back side of the hurricane. In the front side of the hurricane the fierce winds circulate one direction, then the eye brings a bit if calm, but on the back side of a hurricane the wind circulates the opposite direction which makes this particularly dangerous because everything that the front side has loosened up, weakened and damaged, the back side has a tendency to throw it all around scatter and actually can be almost the worst part of a hurricane.

So now how this relates to me. There were always the signs,  the insinuations  the behaviors, and all the other things that point it to the fact that I was likely gay. There were the whispers and the rumblings behind my back and some to my face. There were the gay jokes that were said in front of me likely just to see what my response would be and ashamedly I went along with much of it. I didn’t want anyone to find me out.

I knew at a very young age that I was gay… even before I knew what gay meant. The older I got, the more I knew the signs. I knew the symptoms… I saw it coming. The hurricane was coming but I had no idea it would be a category 5. I did what most people do when they know a hurricane is coming. They board up the windows, they secure the valuables and they protect themselves from things on the outside blowing around that can harm or hurt them on the inside. Most simply just leave for higher ground where it will be safe.

Hurricane3Even though you feel safer leaving your home to be physically safe from the effects of the hurricane, you become tense, agitated and worried about everything that you had to leave behind. Those things that you could never replace if they were gone when you got back.  I believe that at a young age that I left my “home” (my authentic self) to find safety from the storm.  This is why I believe that some insist that I have “changed.”  I didn’t change, I just embraced the real me.  I would dare say that not one of you can ever say that you know or knew me, my character or my intentions (good or bad).  I simply never let that happen.  I kept you all at a safe distance.  The person who knows me the best is my former wife and ashamedly I protected myself from her as well.  I  hid behind laughter at times and anger and fear at other times.  Some of you have experienced all three.  You gotta admit… the funny stuff is pretty funny.  Unfortunately this is typically what happens when one has left their “home” for safety.  They become, testy, angry, aggravated and will even lash out through frustration. They want someone to blame… someone to be responsible.   Don’t take it personal…  It’s not about you.

Now for the first part of the hurricane. They winds begin whipping the water begins rising and all these forces of outside elements are beginning to beat up against me. The worst part of it’s probably late junior high through high school and then college. As I turned 40, it simply became unbearable. I had all the windows boarded up the valuables protected, the things I didn’t want the outside elements to harm, I kept away from people. That included my feelings, my emotions, and my secrets. I trusted no one. I did not have that proverbial “best friend.”  I kept the outside strong, I kept the outside hard and I kept the outside very shielded.  I simply could not risk anyone finding out the truth. I could go on and on about the first part of the hurricane, most of it I’ve already said in previous posts, so let’s go on to what I consider the second part or what we know as the eye of the storm.

In January of 2012 I could no longer take the fierce winds and the rising water.  I was just about to drown and by drown, I mean drown… dead… suicide… self-harm.  Call it what you like.  I decided that I would either “come out” or “check out.”  I had run out of options. I confirmed to my now former wife, that I in fact was a gay man as she had long suspected.  I cried, she cried and we held each other incredibly tight.  She had seen the torment that I was going through and I was beginning to torment her.  Because our love for each other was so deep and strong, we did not want to see each other hurt any longer.  After some tough discussions, we concluded that we should no longer be married.  I simply wanted to die for the destruction that I was causing for her and my daughters.

Hurricane1I thought that the eye of my storm was the worst part but let’s not forget about the back side of the hurricane that is coming.  I wasn’t quite ready for this.  Just as in a real hurricane, the eye of the storm brings some calm for a short time. I felt relieved, alive and safe for the first time in my life.  I was being fully honest, fully present and fully me.  It did not come without some fear and trembling, but for once I was experiencing happiness, joy and love.  Love for myself, love for my God and love toward others.  My 9-year-old even told me how proud that she was of me and how kind and loving that I had become.   I became intentionally vulnerable, even at the risk of many people insisting that I was “airing my dirty laundry,” or “bringing shame to my family.”  I understand that all truth does NOT have to be spoken, but in the same manner, revealing the truth and living your truth, sets you free.  I became more connected to my former wife, my children and my God.  I was enjoying the calm.  It was refreshing.

I wish it could have ended there, but it didn’t. The back side of the hurricane was brewing. I needed to tell my family and friends. I did not want rumors to begin and gossip to explode.  I did not want to bring shame to my sweet wife and daughters. …and the winds blew and the waters rose… Hurricane4The rumors began and the gossip exploded.  A false accounting of my life events were posted on Facebook by an angry sibling because they were upset about all the “attention” that I and my wife were getting. …and of course they offered to tell the “Whole truth” if you simply contacted them directly. It wasn’t long before I was an orphan without parents and siblings.  So not only did I lose my in-laws that I love to the divorce, I lost my siblings and parents as well.   I told you that hurricanes can cause crazy serious damage.

I am all the more thankful that the ONLY PERSON (my former wife) who has a right to be pissed off and angry is the one person who has loved me unconditionally.  She will forever be my best friend.  Something I have longed for my whole life.  At this writing, we are both sitting on the couch after a nice family dinner watching TV together.

Rocks were thrown and emails abounded and people spoke with authority about something that was not theirs to speak of.  Trusted family members and friends hurt me so deeply that those relationships will never be restored, nor do I wish for them to be.  Some of you stayed on the ship and weathered the storm with us and some of you took the first rescue boat to shore because you didn’t want to deal with “all the drama.”  I heard the rumors, I saw the stares, I recognized when I was deleted from your Facebook friends list and I recognize that I didn’t get a Christmas card from you this year…all of the passive-aggressive things did not go unnoticed. The back side of the storm also consisted of looking back through my addresses and Christmas card list, the holiday party list and realizing so many have disappeared. That sucks to be honest.  I usually have quite a few Christmas cards by this time.  Not this year.  I think I counted less than 5.  Two of which are from people who are likely unaware of the events of the past year.  This is all part of the back side of the hurricane.  Lots of damage and broken stuff.  Lots of stuff that just go unaccounted for.

Hurricanes cause a lot of changes. The lay of the land changes, the scenery changes, the shore line and boundaries change, families and friends change. Some relocate permanently and others temporarily while they rebuild. Nonetheless the change is powerful and painful. It is painful for me and it has been painful for others too. I never thought in a million years that being honest would cost me so much, but I am NOT sorry that I chose to be honest and authentic.  I am still amazed at the people who have abandoned me and somehow believe that their lives are close to perfect and better than mine.  I have heard it said that I chose this “lifestyle” and that I am harming my children and how sad it will be for my kids to grow up in  a “broken” home.    Blah Blah Blah…  that kind of crap makes me sick and I will continue to ignore those who say it and those who believe those that say it.  If you cannot get along with people because they share a different belief system than you, then you have so much more than a broken home.

But let’s not forget the fourth part of the hurricane which is the clean up, the rebuilding, the restoration and the healing. I have said it before and I will say it again for every one person who has been unkind to me and rejected me, there have been 10 others who stepped up to the plate and have helped me heal, restore, and repair. However that does not wipe away the emotion the pain and the fear of going through the hurricane all together.  I am sick at the loss of so many.  My heart is at times in a million pieces.  I am sad for those who claimed friendship and love for me yet abandoned me when I needed them most.  This ROCKED my world.  It ROCKED my faith.  It ROCKED my belief system. It ROCKED my family.  It ROCKED my future. Trust me…  I know how you felt.  Unfortunately many of those are admitted born-again Christians. People of the Bible.  A sad, sorry example of the teachings of Christ that you claim to adhere to.  I have chosen to shield my children from this “form” of religion.  There is no US and THEM only God’s beloved.

So as this holiday season is in full swing right now. I recognize it is a time when families come together to celebrate. I have different people to celebrate with this year. My landscape has changed dramatically, my boundaries have been reestablished  and I find myself still on the back side of that Hurricane. Partially rebuilding, partially restoring, partially healing, but honestly still finding myself in the back side of a hurricane is a tough place to be. Everything that was loosened in the front part is being thrown in tossed about in all different directions.  Some things and people are just lost forever.  Never to be found.

So just as when you lose loved ones or friends through death and dying, you never forget them, you never forget those moments that you shared with them, you never forget the joy, the fun times, bad times or any time that you shared with them. But deep in your heart, you know that physically being with them is something you will never experience again. A part of you dies with them.  You can keep all of their belongings as they have left them, but there comes a time when you need to put those things away and move forward.  So that is where I am today.  I am putting those things away of those that have died and I am moving forward in happiness and health.  I will be “modifying” my friends list on Facebook as well.  If you find yourself removed from my page, it is because I do not feel your support or care for me. You may however follow my blog if you wish.  I will not allow people to “peek in” on my life only to “see whats going on with the gay weirdo.”  It’s a friends list not a “stalker” list.  Its like driving around your neighborhood at night and parking in front of the neighbor’s house so that you can catch a glimpse of something going on in “those people’s” lives. That is just altogether too spooky for me.  I won’t say, “don’t take it personal” because it is personal.  I will just say that If you don’t love me and SUPPORT me (I didn’t say agree with me), then we will respectfully part ways.  I am ready for the hurricane to be over and I’m rebuilding.

Arizona Sunrise

I will hold an open place for you to re-acquaint with the ORIGINAL, AUTHENTIC, ONE-OF-A-KIND Chet Lloyd DeRouen if you should choose.

 

 

 

 

IyanlaVanzant

I end this post with a quote from one of my FAVORITE people.  A lady that I wish I could meet personally and just have 30 minutes of her words of wisdom.  Iyanla Vanzant…  If you read this, please grant me just one moment to hug your neck.

Have the courage to be exactly who you are without apology. Admit your mistakes without beating yourself up. Release all shame! Release all guilt! You cannot live if you are hiding behind what was. Focus on what is, right now, and that is you! – Iyanla Vanzant

 
11 Comments

Posted by on December 12, 2012 in Journey to Authenticity

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,