“When I was a young boy I was scared of growing up. I didn’t understand it, but I was terrified of love.” – No Matter What, Calum Scott
This song lyric perfectly describes the way I felt growing up struggling with my own sexuality. I grew up not knowing what was going on – but I knew that I was different. Was it just denial? Was I just cramming it down and hoping it would go away? change? Was it a phase?
Growing up, I lived in a world where I had tons of friends. Everyone liked me. I would have people over all the time, parties, etc. As we aged, slowly the friends disappeared as appearance, popularity, etc were more important.
I typically had more female friends than males as I felt more comfortable being around them. I never felt like I “belonged” with the male “crowd” – as I wasn’t attractive, athletic, smart, or anything else everyone else was looking for in the peer groups. On top of that, I developed a fear of other males and would tend to avoid them. I believe this fear stemmed from growing up with my brother who experienced behavioral issues. For this, I stayed distant.
In high school, I remember not being interested in anyone and mainly focused on school and working part-time. I dreaded conversations when people asked me if I was dating anyone or if I was interested in anyone. Not to mention, my confidence was very low. Reflecting back, its not surprising because I’ve already experienced rejection from my birth mother leaving and my peers.
Here’s a little story:
It was like yesterday, I remember going to hang out with some friends for someone’s birthday. We were walking and one person said “Why is he here”; meaning me. I remember the pain and hurt I felt immediately after they said it. It was like a big red sign came out that read: “YOU DON’T BELONG HERE”.
I associated love and acceptance with rejection and pain. Throughout my teens and into my early 20’s, I built up a wall. I believed that I was ugly and unlovable; nothing to offer society. If I wasn’t working, I would spend my time being alone entertaining myself for the majority of the time.
Friends were very few as I found that they would make plans and then quickly cancel at the last minute. It was like a knife being stabbed into my heart every time and eventually I stopped asking to hangout with people or make any effort. The friends I did have, don’t get me wrong, I am truly grateful for them. There was a very select few that I knew I could count on to hang out and spend time with.
While I attend college, I started questioning my sexuality. Am I gay? Am I straight? What was I? It was like one day I thought I was straight, but then other days I liked men. I seemed to always be attracted to men, but maybe my denial was entertaining the idea that I liked women. At this point, I was not at a point in my life to love anyone else as I had yet to love myself. I just kept suppressing my sexuality and the fear associated with it. What if I was gay? What would people say, do, think?
It was after graduating from college when I hit rock bottom. My confidence was zero. I was at the lowest of lows. How could anyone love me? This is when I had a “Spiritual” intervention – as I like to call it. I saw a medium for the first time. I never in a million years would have imagined the power of that single reading. How much my life would change. It was instantly that Spirit went to work healing my wounds and my faith started.
Quickly, I started learning about my spirituality and started my healing journey. Not long after seeing the medium, I discovered that I was able to connect with spirit myself. I found myself looking for answers as I was curious to where this would lead me. My journey first lead me to Carmel Joy Baird, the medium with the show on CMT – Mom’s A Medium. Slowly, I started getting myself back. My strength. She not only taught me about my gift, but she taught me to love myself.
Once I was quite sure that I was gay – I didn’t know what to do. This crippling fear still immobilized me. I gathered that my step-mother; whom I refer to as my real mother would understand. My father; well, that would be another story. He was never short of an opinion of what he thought about people who were “gay”. It only intensified my fear knowing what he thought and how he would react.
My mind shifted when I was fortunate to hear Sonia Choquette speak at Carmel’s ranch in Edmonton, AB. First impression – honestly, she scared the crap out of me. I later realized why she scared the crap out of me. I believe that Sonia’s approach is to get to the root/source of the problem/question. That caused tremendous anxiety for me. It was like I wasn’t ready to hear the brutal and honest truth from her – if she decided to approach me. Hearing her speak was one of the greatest experiences and I am glad I was able to have that opportunity. I wish that I would have been able to have the courage to speak to her. Unbeknownst to me, it would later be a catalyst to change…
That evening, I remember sitting in my hotel room, thinking about what Sonia had said that afternoon and something just “clicked”. My fear was almost completely eliminated and I started texting people telling them that I was gay and coming out to them. I told my boss first, then a few friends, but still avoiding telling my parents.
Things were not easy at home as my father was dying and there were issues with the medications that he was taking. It felt like there was constant chaos and it was the last thing that I wanted to throw in. As I was partially caring for my father, I realized one thing: it didn’t matter to him that I was gay. He loved me no matter what. There was an unspoken word between us before he passed that I picked up on. I felt that it wouldn’t be a good idea to bring it up before he passed because he would not be of the right mind with the medications he was taking; as it would cause more harmful than good – he wasn’t himself.
People may ask me if I have regrets that I didn’t come out to my father and here is my response:
My father loved his children regardless. He may have come from a religious background and old-school values, but it came down to one thing. Love. I believe that he loved me regardless. I think he knew, but chose not to say anything because he loved me. My father was very sick and in a lot of pain before his passing, but I know the true father I loved and cherished as a child.
After my father passed, shortly after, I mustered up the courage and told my mother for the first time. It was like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Like I suspected, she said that she would love me no matter what. It didn’t matter to her.
I feel very fortunate and grateful for the people that I have around me. I later find out that my coworkers would disregard my fumbles with pronouns when trying to cover up the fact I was gay and wanted to wait until I was ready to come out to them – that’s true support and friendship.
Slowly, I’ve learned to love and accept myself. It’s been quite the journey, but I’ve grown stronger because of it. I’ve started eating better, exercising, and taking better care of my body, mind, and soul. Knowing that I am loved by those around me. Loved by God. My relationship with God has strengthened tremendously during this process of healing. I know who I am now. I am to the point that I feel that I do not need to come out to anyone else. I do not understand the purpose behind it. What do I need to prove? How does that make me any different? I do not see people who are heterosexual telling others they’re straight. I will not be doing anymore explaining. Why does it matter?
I am at a point in my life where I am proud of who I am. I am grateful for where I have been and where I continue to go on my journey. I’ve learned to accept myself. I’ve learned to love myself. I’ve found an amazing group of friends and family that love me no matter what; who support me every step of the way. I have a greater understanding of the unconditional love provided by God. God has, and continues to be, my strength and encouragement. He has restored me and my faith.
A big shout out to Calum Scott – an amazing singer, but an even more brilliant song writer. The lyrics from your debut album: Only Human has provided tremendous healing for me. I hope that one day I will be able to meet you and thank you for the healing, courage, strength, etc. you have not only provided me, but the world. You’re amazing! The beginning of this blog, I used the lyrics from No Matter What by Calum Scott. Such a beautiful song: real, true, and raw. I am forever grateful for the music that you put out!
All my love,