Originally Posted on June 20, 2007
What’s another semi-lame story of Pride for this month as we count down to the opening of the major GLBT celebrations this weekend…
Chew on this, folks:
It came to me on a two-lane highway north of San Francisco about 17 years ago. As I was driving along, admiring the landscape, it occurred to me that if I continued to live that way I’ve been living since the day I was born that I would never liberate myself from the shackles of everyone else’s expectations. There were too many lies I’ve told to too many people. Yet, I have nothing to show for my life at that time except for a bunch of money in the bank and a new car.
In a moment of clarity, I pulled the car off to the side of the road and cried my eyes out. I said the magic words out loud: “I’m gay!” Then, the shackles fell off and a new life had begun.
Since coming out, I earned my Bachelor’s Degree and founded an enduring work in the bear community. In the process, however, I lost my mother. I also drifted apart from my family. Then, I moved several times to a few different parts of the country. Now, I live in a fantastic community and begun graduate school.
It’s amazing how I came from being just some fat gay guy to being a “woofy big ol’ bear.” Could it be that having good self-esteem helps? True. It’s also consequential due to my “finding myself” in the throngs of the bear and chubby/chaser communities. Certainly I’ve found a place where I’m somewhat accepted, but it seems so limiting in a sense.
However, I found it really difficult explaining to my straight friends about what a bear is or the kind of guys I’m attracted to. It’s also just as difficult for my bear and chubby/chaser friends to understand why I love baseball and listen to “urban” music. For a society that had been accorded individual freedom of expression, we’ve become a society that forces you to conform to someone’s way of life.
Therefore, I’ve came to the conclusion that, yes, I’m a bear…a chubby bear. I’m attracted to other bears and chubby gay/bisexual men. However, I’m also a gay man and would like to be a part of a larger community that does not judge people by their size, gender, age, race or fetish. I’m also an American regardless of what my beliefs are. Finally, my ideals, interests and outlook are not constrained by any boundaries or barriers, real or virtual.
Yet, there’s something missing in my life. It’s one thing to say such a powerful statement about one's self; however one needs to act upon that statement. What does it take to fulfill such a statement and make it live?
Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence: “give me life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” This statement rings true for me. I see happiness as the pursuit of the life I want to live without judgment, ridicule or fear.
By writing all of this, I just had another moment of clarity. Again, another set of shackles fell off of me by the side of the road. But, I’m not about to start a new life, since I’ve learned that life is an open-ended book. Let’s just say that the journey continues as long as I am still breathing on this planet.
This month, be proud of who you are and show that pride at a festival near you!