Thursday, January 16, 2014

Your sh*t does in fact stink.

We all had that teacher in school who, internally, we swooned over. Sitting in class, your stare lovingly into your teachers eyes, a piece of you ready to smack the first friend who outwardly acknowledges your love in front of said teacher. The other piece hoping someone does indeed call you out so your older-than-average love interest is fully aware of your undying lust.

                                              For you gleeks - Puck and Mrs. Cochran was the vision I had for us.

I had this teacher, and ironically, she was a SHE! When looking at the ol' Kinsey scale where you can pinpoint your sexuality, I would say my sexual attractions fall on moderately gay, but in high school I was still in complete denial. Mrs. - we'll call her Johnson - exuded the very essence every teenage boy longs for. Every morning, she showed up to school with her perfectly curled hair and dressed in a way only a teacher can make attractive. Mrs. Johnson understands youth. She gets it. She was my foods instructor, and I was her star student. Go ahead and roll your eyes, but my talents are few and far between. The kitchen is ONE place I shine! Now that I've fully embraced my sexuality, I have realized I do not have much interest in women. At all.

Mrs. Johnson (now I call her Johnson) and I have kept in contact after I graduated a few years back. Not surprisingly, she is the perfect person to grab a beer with. Imagine that, she loves beer, and not just beer, dark beer. I hate beer, but I try to fake it with her and order Red's Apple Ale. Johnson recently found out about my sexuality, so she sent me a text offering her love and support. I mentioned we should meet up for drinks and dinner to catch up, and we did this past Tuesday. We discussed my new relationship, and I told her how Troy (my boyfriend who is truly perfect for me) and I have had quite a few intense discussions. We are head over heels for each other, but the discussions often seem to have this "end all" feel. She offered some brutally honest advice, and I have spent the last days pondering her words of wisdom. She and her husband have strong personalities, as do Troy and I. They get into similar spats as a result. She and her husband eventually came to the acceptance that their sh*t both STANK, and everyone has sh*t. Their own, uniquely pungent sh*t. Everyone. In a fruitful relationship, you must both acknowledge that you have downfalls and areas in which you can improve. Troy and I, both having assurance of what we want and who we are, struggle with this. However, we are working on it! Here are a few of our implementation methods.

1 - We lovingly call each other out when the need is present...him more than me ;) The other day, we were having our usual discussion of near future aspirations. I went on my "I just want to move to Portland" rant,  yet he is content with remaining back home to be near family. I was not validating this desire of his, and I continued on why I couldn't stand winter, the area, etc. He interrupted me and told me straight up that I was acting incredibly selfish, and after swallowing my pride, I thanked him for pointing this out. I was acting like a total brat! Now, I think before I speak on this subject, and we go about it with respect for each other's desires.

2 - When a disagreement arrises, we both listen. Yesterday, we were talking about interactions with other gay men our age. Specifically, one of my gay friends wanted to catch up soon, and Troy wasn't loving the idea. I will admit, I am very naive. Often, I give more trust than should be given. If another guy was flirting with me, I would tell Troy, "Oh my gosh, this guy was so kind and friendly! He must have such a great spirit, and karma will treat him well." not realizing at all that the fellow was flirting. Troy would tell me, "Tyler - are you blind? He's wants you. Stay away." The reason we have these different views is because our experiences have been entirely different. I know very few gay men, and the ones I know offered me abundant support and guidance when I was finding myself. They are some of the kindest individuals I know. Troy's past has proven a grimmer outlook. Many of his gay "friends" at college tried to get into his pants while he was in a relationship or break apart he and his boyfriend. After listening to his experience, I completely understand why he would be weary about me catching up with my friend. Troy realized that when I tell him I am going to meet with this friend, it is not because I am physically interested at all, but rather I truly appreciate his friendship and company. All too often, couples hold grudges that could be solved through listening.

3 - Keep open with concerns. I admittedly try and run our relationship like an Oprah's Life Class. I find it crucial to bring up those little thoughts of apprehension and fear that arise about our significant other. I am a total dweller. If Troy says something with no intention of hurting me but that is how I feel, I will dwell on it for days. This creates broken energy between us, fear, and sadness. We tell each other regularly to bring forth any concerns we have with the relationship or each other. Towards the beginning of our relationship, I was worried that Troy liked the idea of our relationship alone. We were both recently graduated, starting careers, and had common goals of settling down and eventually starting a family. Did he want this life, or did he want this life with me? He never said anything to feed this fear, and regularly tells me how much he likes ME and my qualities. The relationship has gone incredibly well, so I think the negativity in my ego was looking for a reason why we should not work. I brought this fear up with him, and he assured me while giving specific reasons why he doesn't like the solely the idea of a relationship with me, but actually likes me, my spirit, and could see a life together with me.

Everyone has downfalls, baggage, and iniquities. Far better is a relationship in which both are fully aware of this and will help each other become better versions of themselves than one of pride and stubbornness. When I picture this, I see Troy and I almost floating in air, and every time we help each other overcome a personal struggle, we grow closer to each other. I typically think the idea of "two becoming one" as a bunch of bull (a relationship should be two self-assured wholes enjoying each other's wholeness), but this vision reflects the "two becomes one" idea. Our relationship is something we create together, and in a way, we do become one.

Take Mrs. Johnson's advice, and own up to your sh*t. Be open with each other. Be aware of your ego. Be cognizant of why you are in the relationship in the first place: connection, mutual attraction, and LOVE.

Keep it genYOUine,


Tuesday, January 7, 2014


Are you gay? A Christian? If the answer is yes to the previous two, there is a good chance you have heard the word ABOMINATION echo in your head as if it came straight from the mouth of the glasses kid from The Sandlot (FOR-EV-ER!). Basically, the term "abomination" stirred in your head over and over until you felt like you were the scum between a sinner's toes. Oofta!

My heart lunges out of my chest for those closeted Christians feeling as if they are some sort of mutant that God messed up on. I have a big place in my heart for you. I have walked the journey, well, I am walking it. My soul has such desire to share this journey with others walking a similar path to my own to give encouragement, offer advice, be a pillar of support, and tell you that you are PERFECT the way God created you. Baby, you were born this way! God did this purposely...and I am not going to give you any of that "God gave this struggle to you to lean on Him more" jargon. That is bull-ony. Let's start by taking a look at the root of this disgusting A-word (not ass!). Leviticus 18:22 - Man shall not lie with man as with a woman. There are so many reasons this can not longer be an argument against homosexuality.

1 - For those strong Christians, Christ came so we no longer have to live under the "old law".

2 - I know you've heard this one, but it's a legit argument; Leviticus also says we can't eat shellfish. There are hella ton of Bible thumpers who enjoy a fancy meal at Red Lobster. Sooo, should we stone them after they finish off that last cheddar bay biscuit?

3 - I would NEVER lie with a woman that way I would lie with a man. If I were in bed with a woman, there would be a good 3.5 feet in between us.

Number 3 is a bit ridiculous, but you get the picture. Gosh, how easy would it have been for these educated religious folk however many years ago to manipulate the uneducated mass saying, "God says men can't sleep with each other." They had to populate the stinkin' earth! Gay people don't exactly contribute to this, so maybe they were controlling the common folk for this reason. There are about 5 more verses that are seemingly condemning of homosexuality in the Bible, believe me, I will kindly educate the crap out of you on the counterargument, giving you a new perspective (even those verses in the New Testament!). If you are really eager, I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to tell you my thoughts now. I can totally tell spirit wants me to reach out and be a light for those struggling and in the closet. Please, let me know how I can help!

There was a good chunk of time when I thought, "I know God forgives our sins, but I don't want to be gay if it actually is a sin...even if it is forgiven!" Does this sound familiar? That is not my thinking path anymore, but we all have to wrestle with these notions that hold us from true authenticity, because when we reach self-assurance, we will be strong in our new beliefs. Last year, I left student teaching early one afternoon (oh...I am a teacher! I love my kiddos!) to meet with my pastor. The picture below was a picture he showed me representing how I felt.

WELL OF COURSE I FEEL LIKE THE GUY IN THE PURPLE SHIRT! Each Sunday, you're telling me I am a freaking abomination! Now, there are times when I really have to remind myself that he spoke to me out of love, but I left that night, hopped in my Kia (her name is Discharge...guess what color she is), and bawled my eyes out. He made me feel as though I needed fixing. I already thought this about myself, and he nailed in the fact that I do indeed need fixing, and that God sure agrees! It took a few months, a break from Church, and much prayer and meditation to realize I felt like the purple shirt dude not because I felt gay and shouldn't be, but because I was not embracing my gift...the fabulous gift of gay. I was choosing to listen to a pastor who preached out of fear of difference and closed mindedness. I emailed a pastor, Ed Bacon, who preaches at All Saints Church in Pasadena, California. Oh, he was interviewed by Oprah, yo! Ed is a Christian, and in his email, he told me my sexuality was a gift from God. A gift? "Uhm, Ed. I just prayed last month that God would kill me. This is not a gift." I did eventually choose to embrace Ed's advice. I chose to listen to this pastor who was clearly preaching about God and His love for us. Ultimately, I realized that Jesus came to show us love, and my being okay with my gay will allow me to LOVE myself, others, and open my heart to loving those struggling with any issue. (Shout out to Ed Bacon! I love him!)

I saw this picture floating around my my Facebook newsfeed the other day, and I R(ed)OTFL.

I strive to handle any serious situations or personal struggle with humor. How hilarious is it to think about Jesus saying this. I'll respect your religious/spiritual beliefs, and honestly, I am still sorting out what mine are. I do believe that Jesus was at least a prophet and came to show us how to live and love. His message was certain: love all. That's it! I do not believe homosexuals are these lesser-thans that Jesus loved and broke bread with, even though they committed sinful acts. I don't think a loving, gay relationship is all. The blessings of my sexuality are evident and sprouting up like weeds - or wildflowers! I have developed deep compassion for people I once looked down upon. I no longer give to sh*ts about what others think of me (unless you call me mean. Or grumpy. Or poorly dressed. Okay, I just care less about what others think of me.). Most importantly, dealing with my suppressed gay feelings ultimately transformed this Christian boy who lived in total fear and believed that non-Christians were condemned to Hell into a more worldly man who is on a spiritual journey and reads up on teachings of Buddah. Being gay has clearly taught me lessons I would have otherwise ceased to learn. I am that person who I once thought was for sure SOL come the rapture. And you know what? I am WAY happier with my relationship with God, Spirit, the Universe, and myself than I ever have been. God loves you. If I got to know you, I am sure I would too :)

Keep it genYOUine,


Monday, January 6, 2014

2014 - My First Fully Authentic Year!

It's a new year, and I am feeling mighty...ME! Over the last two years, I have been popping blogs and books about authenticity and spirituality like tic tacs. From Gabby Bernstein's "May Cause Miracles" novel to Mastin Kipp's "The Daily Love" blog, my journey for self-acceptance and connection to God has taken over my life. I would plan my Sunday morning gym workout around Super Soul Sunday. Oprah and sweaty, breathless Tyler quickly became the best of friends. I still wonder if the disapproving looks I received were because of the dying cow noise I tend to make while running or the fact that a 20 year old male was watching Oprah on the treadmill. Do you have any insight you could offer?! 

Now - onto why 2014 is my first year I feel free, me, and okay sharing my obsession with glee (was that last part too much?). As you will soon realize, perhaps the biggest struggle, learning factor, blessing, DAMN PROBLEM, fortune...I have certainly given it a few different labels...that I have finally embraced is my sexuality (my HOMOsexuality!). That word sounds so clinical...homosexual. Homosexual. "Hi, I'm Tyler and I am a homosexual." Why does this term feel so awk-sauce? I think I'll stick with gay. I am gay. And the journey to self-actualization and acceptance of "my gay self" has taught me more lessons than any other aspect of my life. I am thrilled to share what I have learned, what I continue to struggle with, and the screw ups I made I would TOTALLY redo if I could ;) But mostly, I hope to be a light for others hiding this BLESSING God has given. Specifically, I want to reach out to those people sitting in Church every Sunday wondering if they are an abomination condemned to Hell should they act on their natural feelings. I assure you, the answer to this is NO! 

2014 will be a freaking-fantastic year for this guy. FINALLY, I am out for all to know! In June 2012, I came out to my first (ex girl) friend...story to come soon. A year and a half later, I have finally fully accepted my sexuality, found a way to kill my naysayers (with KINDNESS...I swear!), and come out for the world to know! This is in large part thanks to my new boo who I am quickly falling in LOVE with! He doesn't know this, but it's so true! I just don't want to freak him out with the L-word bomb quite yet, however, I have let it slip about 17 times in the last week - "Wow, Troy, I Love...that cute beard you're rocking." Or "I Taylor Swift. Okay! There. Now you know. I love her." Thank goodness I am quick on feet! Back to Troy - here is the teenage girl in me - WE ARE FBO (Facebook official for those of you 40 and older). This was how I came out to the world (or my 472 Facbook acquaintances). I have received abundant love, support, and kind words from my friends and loved ones. I used to place my insecurities onto others and lay (lie?) awake at night preparing myself to lose all of my friends and inevitably have to move to Zambia due to copious amounts of hate mail. None of this has happened...though it is -50 degrees out right now and Zambia sounds appealing. Since I have made it to this incredible place in my life, you can too! I have gone from that rock bottom feeling of hopelessness to seeing gay as more than okay...I see it as perfect. 

Cheers to life! Cheers to a year when I am no longer hiding an innate aspect of me that I now realize is God's blessing! Cheers to a world awakening and embracing differences! Cheers to YOU! 

Keep it GenYOUine,

Tyler :)