It seems that the last two nights two shows have inspired me to write in my blog. Yesterday it was Salvation from watching American Horror Story and tonight it is Finding Your Place from Glee.
In tonight’s episode of Glee the character “Unique” (for the life of me I can’t remember her boy name) wanted to part of Rizzo in the musical Grease. When Finn offered the part of Rizzo to Unique, she talked about how she had never really felt she had a place or something similiar… That she didn’t feel in place in the boys locker room and that she certainly couldn’t go into the girls locker room, and that she couldn’t go around wearing women’s clothing all the time. That by getting the part of Rizzo she found her place.
Which reminded me of my own life. All my life I have struggled to fit in. At the age of 36 I still haven’t quite found my place. It has been a struggle because unlike Rachel my destiny hasn’t fallen right in my lap. Some people know exactly who they are and who they want to be when they grow up, and I am not sure if I ever did. Sure I had dreams of being on broadway but even theatre I didn’t feel like I fit in.
I certainly have struggled finding my place in the gay world. I have bounced from one labeled segment to another, and every time I find myself feeling less because I am not quite like them… nor am I accepted.
It is the age old question “Who Am I?”
I certainly have figured out who I am not… but I haven’t quite yet found my place in the world, and that has been a little unsettling.
When you think about fitting in, it is this idea that you have to conform to the group… and when I dig deep down I don’t really want to fit in…
I also don’t fit in easily. I stick out like a sore thumb… but not in a bad way…. Though there has been times I feel that it is, and I still catch myself feeling that. Even last night I started to go back into that whole trap.
Being a “fat” guy in the gay world hasn’t been easy. I certainly didn’t fit into the typical gay social scene. I can remember back in the day when Gay.com chat rooms were popular and some gay guys would have the nerve to out of the blue cut me down for my size. They just picked me out of the crowd (where I was staying silent) and they tried to tear me down… When ever I see anyone do that now, it shakes me to my core… Even in tonight’s episode there is this character who does the same thing. She picks the girl who is pure and insecure, and she tries to rip her to shreds.
It is this whole false idea of what beauty is and for some reason some thing they have the true definition of it. For the longest time I believed their lies. I am learning to overcome those beliefs.
So in that segment I wasn’t welcomed… So I searched out for acceptance in other groups. Naturally being a big person, the bear community seemed like the perfect fit… and for a time I was able to blend in… Increasingly I would find myself again feeling less and it wasn’t until someone pointed out that here you found a community but all people were seeing you for was your outside appearance and now who you were inside…
As I started to begin to accept the whole me, and embraced both the masculine and feminine parts of myself I began to identify less and less with the bear label. Again I found myself feeling an outcast. I had the physical characteristics of a bear but my personality wasn’t masculine enough… Then it would start that vicious cycle of feeling less about myself.
Plus as the popularity of the bear world has sky rocketed it has become more main stream and I find myself more and more not even fitting in physically anymore… Which only makes me feel less… Anyone else seeing a trend here? 🙂
When I first joined the social app Growlr I was torn on how much of myself to show and I am not talking about skin… I ended up just putting it all out there, showing the real me. Even on Bear411 my username is notyouravgbear… and no one really has understood what it truely means. If masculinity is your thing, that is fine and dandy but that isn’t me. I am not defined by one quality. You would be surprised how many profiles you find that say masculine only, or no fems… I especially love “straight acting.”
I am also on the other mainstream gay sites like Scruff, Jack’d and Grindr… Now talking about feeling invisible. I send off messages to guys and nine times out of ten I never get a response… and I am always friendly… I am not like oh your hot, I want to have sex with you… or even something more vulgar… but yet I never hear anything back. Even profiles that say that they are looking for friendship, I rarely hear back. Is it my age? my size? and what does it matter when it comes to friendship???
Tonight I liberated myself from Scruff, Jack’d and Grindr… and it felt good. It became obvious I wasn’t going to find any authentic connections there and it was only making me feel less. Even though my luck with Growlr is not very good, I at least occasionally have meaningful conversations there… Just recently I have sparked a wonderful friendship with this very nice guy from the Netherlands…
Plus I have had a decent amount of guys reach out to me to tell me how much my profile touched them. Not only does that confirm that I made the right choice to be me but I am also making an impact. Granted most of the interactions aren’t lasting but it is still meaningful.
I keep searching out for a group to accept me and I end up failing big time.
I’ve dabbled in gay activism…
I’ve spent some time in the drag community…
Every time I just repeated the same old worn out horrible feelings… and every time I would go running back into hiding.
I think the key was that I who I am is sometimes intimidating for certain people. When you show your authentic self to thsoe who haven’t been able to embrace it themselves it can bring out the claws in some people. Take the chacacter Kitty in Glee tonight. She feels insecure and less, and how she feels better is that she puts others down… If you don’t have a thick skin, when you are faced with that kind of heat it will always send you packing… Always feeling less.
What I have learned about all these experiences in the various segments of the gay community is that I won’t find acceptance in the outside world. Acceptance is something you find inward. Going through the experience of various people feeling they needed to drag me down has only made me stronger. I have come to learn it was never me. It was all them. All these battles was my training in the school of the hard knocks.
Every time I would get knocked down… I would always get back up. ALWAYS… I learned that from my beautiful Mother.
Most of my life I have hide who I am because of others insecurities. I shrunk down in size to make everyone else happy. To fit in. To find my place. In the process I have become very unhappy. I shrunk so small that I got to a point where I couldn’t even find the real me.
Rediscovering myself hasn’t been an easy or quick process but it has been a very important part of my journey.
I am also realizing overall the internet will not bring my authentic connections. It is not to say that it can’t happen but I have to venture out into the world. I can’t stay hidden behind a computer screen because it is the safe way out. That is also not my place either. It is not say that I don’t have a place on the interwebs but it isn’t my only place to be and reach out to others.
We live in a world where we are constantly inundated with messages of fitting in. It is fine if you find your place but if you don’t you end up feeling left out. Just like the island of the misfit toys…
Individuality isn’t the social norm, nor it is taught as being acceptable. The media tells us that we have to conform to the masses. Just look at how beauty is pictured in our culture. If I see one more girl toy with a skinny waist I swear I am going to go crazy. The same goes for gender, sexuality and everything in between.
Labels are helpful if you are product on the shelf but as a human being labeled often just makes you feel horrible about yourself.
In the straight world our culture tells us what is and isn’t socially acceptable for a man and a woman… This ideology also has creeped its way into the gay world telling us what is and isn’t socially acceptable being a gay man. Many have conformed to the socially acceptable view of a gay man. There is a stigma for being too gay. I say being fabulous is what makes being gay so wonderful and fun. Just be yourself, even if that means flaming out as they say!!! Being on fire, isn’t always a bad thing! 🙂
Be yourself, now there is a motto. That is the place to be. Sure not everyone will get you and many will turn your nose at them but in the end you will be much more happier… and you will finally meet the people who will see you for who you really are…
So I haven’t quite found my place in this world but I am getting there. I certainly am getting to see a glimpse of where I am going. I just have to have faith that the universe will provide an outlet that I can share myself my authentic self with. This blog is a start. My light was meant to shine, not hide deep inside of dark cave. I have a voice and a message that the world needs to hear. That is my place…