Tag Archives: LGBT

RULE 26: STOP WAITING TO BE PERFECT

gay blog

Match.com has launched the 2015 campaign ‘#loveyourimperfections’, encouraging us all to embrace the things that make us unique. I have contributed to the campaign with this post which is a challenge to all those who read it to stop waiting to be perfect before you feel like you’re worthy of love. After all it’s our mistakes, misbehaviours, quirks, habits and our little obsessions that make us who we are.

If you are waiting to lose weight before you are ready to find love then you will never find love. If you are waiting to have the perfect six-pack before you are ready to find love then you will never find love. If you are waiting for anything about you to change before you are ready to find love then you will never find love. If you are waiting to be perfect then you will never find love.

I used to think that I would be ready for love and a relationship only once I had controlled all the external elements of my being, that only when my body, job and social life were in ideal alignment then would I find the perfect guy. The fact is that my life will never be perfect and neither will yours.

Stop waiting to be perfect to feel that you are worthy of love whether it be love from someone else or self-love. It’s exhausting to pursue perfection. Why? Because there is no measureable end goal. The finish line is always moving. How will you know when you’re perfect? The pursuit of perfection does not lead to happiness. It leads to dissatisfaction with the moment. Perfection does not exist and as such the pursuit of perfection is a pointless cause.

But who wants to be with a perfect partner anyway? Personally I don’t want to be with someone who wants me to be perfect, in fact, I want to be with someone who loves my imperfections. I want a man who will love me even when I’ve put on weight, when I haven’t gone to gym for three months, when I’m sick and when I’m feeling ugly. My future partner needs to understand that sometimes I shave and sometimes I don’t, that sometimes I trim my chest hair but most of the time I look like I’ve been stranded on a tropical island for months with only a Wilson volleyball as a companion. My future partner needs to understand that these external things do not define who I am and as such I don’t want a relationship that fluctuates depending on such things. The right person will love me for who I am always not who I am sometimes.

It’s our imperfections that actually make us the most beautiful. The Japanese have known this for centuries. Kintsugi, the Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with lacquer resin mixed with powdered gold is based on highlighting imperfections as beautiful fragments of the overall story. As a philosophy it speaks to breakage and repair becoming part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise. We should apply this same approach to mending the parts of us that we see as broken and imperfect.

My body is covered in scars and marks. I have a long scar on my knuckles from when I cut myself working in a cocktail bar, I have a scar on my chin from when I was dumped by a wave on family holiday and I have little stretch marks on my sides from when I went through a growth spurt in grade 8. All these blemishes represent moments in my life and instead of hiding them, I have chosen to embrace them as markers of memories.

Only once you have learnt to appreciate all the parts that make up who you are will you then be ready for love. In the end though, it’s not about being ready for someone else’s love but learning to love yourself.

Watch the campaign video here to see how the things that embarrass us about ourselves might actually be the things that others find endearing. 

Image by Willy Vanderperre

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RULE 25: OBSESSING OVER YOUR BODY WONT MAKE YOU HAPPY

Gay Gym Vintage Workout

I am so tired of worrying about my body. I am tired of thinking how it looks to others, whether it’s toned enough, big enough, smooth enough. Whether my pecs are even, whether my ass is perky or whether or not you can see my six-pack. Come to think of it, I’m also tired of hearing about your body. I’m tired of seeing pictures of your meal preparation, updates about your weight gain or your weight loss, reflections of your rippling back in gym mirrors. I’m tired of your mini-essays about “achieving your goals” and “how far you’ve come in the last five years”. I’m tired of the gay obsession with body image.

This homo-focus on body image is not for me. While others are happy to count their calories and pre-cook their meals a week in advance, I would rather eat out at a nice restaurant, do Pilates, spend time with my mates at the pub or learn a new skill, like French or First Aid.

I’m not sure what it’s like within your gay community but where I live this body obsession seems to have reached a new level of absurdity. This is particularly evident in the lead up to events like Mardi Gras where guys will devote all their spare time and mental energy to a strict health regime in order to look good for one weekend three months in the future.  And for what? To get laid? So that they can be ogled at by other men while they dance shirtless? I wonder what happens after Mardi Gras when they’ve had plenty of sex but they’re still alone.

The pursuit of body perfection is a symptom of the gay sickness that is instant gratification. Sex is so readily available to gay men that they obsess over ways to look more attractive than their competition all in a bid to get laid. They go to extremes such as injecting illegal and harmful substances into their bodies in order to look bigger, hoping that when their body is perfect then they’ll finally be seen as attractive in the eyes of others. But working on your outer appearance will not lead to happiness. After all the sex, gay men, just like the rest of humanity want to be loved. The problem though is that you cannot create meaningful relationships while you’re only focused on the superficial.

Sustainable relationships are not built on sexual attraction only. There are much more important things that create longevity in a relationship. What happens if your partner becomes ill? What happens if they get cancer and their body withers away? What happens when you’re older and your body isn’t as toned as it once was? What happens to your relationship then? What happens when you stop taking steroids and you become fat? How long will your partner stick around then? When I’m 85 and I’m old and grey, sitting in a nursing home in adult diapers, I want to be next to my partner and I want to be able to laugh at the situation with him. Humor, love, respect, friendship – these are the things that last when the rest of you fades away. I want a man who is more than his body.

Recently I was at a gay venue with friends and as I looked around I noticed that everyone was starting to look the same. There were hundreds of men but they all looked like carbon cutouts of each other, albeit of varying heights. They were all similarly dressed and had obviously spent a substantial amount of time in the gym. Seeing these men made me realize how unfortunate it is that gay culture holds up one body type as the ideal and as a result everyone else feels obliged to meet that standard. Sure women have been suffering the same fate for centuries but at least there have been vocal opponents to the generalization of the female body image. Where are the vocal opponents to the gay male image? Young gay men trawl the Instagram profiles and Facebook pages of older gay men (many of whom are using steroids) and feel that this is what it means to be gay. When they can’t meet these unrealistic and unhealthy expectations they feel unattractive and isolated within their own community.

I don’t want to be part of a club that places body perfection above all else and nor would I want my future partner to be either. I value personality over biceps, witty banter over bulging quads, education over time spent in the gym and I hope to find someone who values similar things. Until then I’ll be eating carbohydrates, doing Pilates and drinking beers at the pub.

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RULE NO. 23: YOUR PARENTS DID THE BEST THEY COULD

Bernard Fouquet Modern Gay

When I was 14 my dad took me on a father and son snowboarding trip. The drive from my home to the mountains was over 7 hours and during that time our conversations touched on various topics. I had always had a great relationship with my parents and talked openly with my dad about sex, his sexual experiences and girls. We had never spoken about homosexuality; until that point I hadn’t considered that I might be gay. A few months before my 14th birthday I had started thinking about boys and an older kid at my school had asked me if I was gay. Not knowing what any of this really meant I decided to broach the topic with my dad during our extended car trip. I loved asking my dad questions about sex and dating and being a reformed playboy, he had a lot of tantalising stories to share.

“Dad, how do I know if I’m gay?” I curiously asked. Taken aback, he answered with a very involved and convoluted explanation, using analogies and metaphors that were somewhat confusing for a 14 year old to decipher. He finished his explanation with the statement “although I’ll be disappointed if you’re gay, I will always love and support you”.

I realised two things from our conversation 1. by my fathers explanation and reasoning, I was definitely not gay and 2. that if I ever was to be gay then I would be a disappointment to my father. The latter realisation was particularly troubling as I had always been taught that family was the most important thing and therefore disappointing the family was for me, an unimaginable act of disrespect.

Looking back on that formative conversation I’ve realised that my father was simply handling the situation in the best manner that he knew how. While his explanation would have been understood much better had he just said that being gay meant that a boy liked a boy in the same way that other boys likes girls, he was obviously trying to protect to me.

Although I’m fortunate to have parents who now support and love me regardless of my sexuality, I understand that other people have had much more trying experiences with their families. Whether your parents have dealt well with your coming out or have responded negatively, it’s important to understand that their response is based on their own experiences and their own capability to deal with the situation. Their opinions and values may be based on religious or cultural beliefs or they may not understand what it means to be gay. Whatever their response, one must realise that we cannot change the perspectives of others. What we can do is try empathise with them and see things from their perspective in the hope that they will learn to empathise with us too.

The thought of disappointing  my parents prevented me from coming out to them for much longer than I would have anticipated. When I realised what that disappointment actually meant, I found the confidence to finally tell them. They weren’t disappointed in me as a person, they were disappointed that the life that they had imagined for me wasn’t going to be, and that was OK. They were entitled to that disappointment and even then, those feelings were dealt with and forgotten faster than I anticipated. Once we come out, no matter how our family responds, we must give them space to come to terms with the situation. This may take days, months or even years.

Often I wondered, to the point of resentment why my parents had never asked me if I was gay. It would have been so much easier had they just approached me at 15 and asked me the question rather than waiting for me to come out. This resentment was intensified one evening at a restaurant when my dad pointed out to me a table of good looking men who were clearly gay and jokingly said “there’s some boys for you”. I responded with “if your gaydar is so good then how come you never asked me if I was gay”? to which he responded that he had always known but wasn’t sure how to approach the topic without upsetting me.

Obviously the past cannot be undone but I now see that my parents dealt with the situation the best way that they knew how and with that realisation comes a sense of peace.

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