Michael, in his own words:“Being gay is an attribute like many other attributes, it’s part of who we are, but it isn’t the whole of who we are. Although we, and many others, have faced and overcome challenges as a result of being gay, being attracted to men doesn’t define us unless we allow it. That said, being “gay” is so much more than being attracted to men. Because of the struggle that often comes with it, being gay is to be a master of the heart because you’ve spent so much time repairing your own, being gay means perseverance when everyone is telling you to give up, it means honesty in being true to yourself, it means empathy to those who may have shared your struggle, and it means pride in the value you bring, just as you are, to the community, to your profession, and to your family.
Understanding that I was gay (Michael) took much longer than most and as a result it caused a lot of turmoil in my life and the lives of those around me. Finding a loving, honest relationship, one that feeds my soul and makes me a better person is the single greatest success I’ve realized. I am a very lucky man.
By the time I came out (18 years ago) I had been a leader in the church, I was pre-med, I had been married and divorced, and had experienced such emotional struggles with who I was and who I was expected to be that I simply didn’t want to fight anymore; several times I reached the point that I simply thought that life shouldn’t have to be so hard to live. I had the sense to go get professional counseling, I surrounded myself with people who really did care about me and I got through it. I appreciate my life now so much more because of those hard times and my heart breaks for so many kids that don’t make it through. Coming out is different for everyone and it’s very personal. The key is to remember that life is worth living and you can make it because there are people that want to see you happy, even if they can’t express it the way you need to hear it.
Gays in Canyon Country? I thought we were the token gays here
(Advice I’d give my younger self)
a. Calm down, don’t be in such a hurry; spend more time finding yourself and your passions.
b. Don’t be afraid to love – getting it right takes practice,
c. Don’t be afraid to trust-you will be taken advantage of so just get it out of the way now, there are lessons to be learned there,
d. Save more money- growing old with good taste is expensive.”