Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Body image for men is something that is rarely discussed. Body image for gay men is ridiculous, and many gay men have eating disorders. Some might be surprised to learn that I had one in high school. I just plain flat didn't eat. At most, I'd have a dry lettuce salad for lunch, and would pick at my food at night. It was easy, as I usually had to reheat food anyway and wasn't at home for meals. I was also on the cross country running team at the time, and would go home after practice and pass out from exhaustion. My mother thought I was napping after a hard day at school and practice. Obviously, not a healthy weight loss plan, and not one that worked either. I didn't lose much weight, as my metabolism is funky to begin with. Not giving it food didn't help matters.
Recently I've found some combinations that work, and am losing weight in a healthy way. 27 pounds and counting, thankyouverymuch! Now that I have momentum going in the right direction and have kick started my metabolism a bit, it should only get better from here on out. This week at pride, I spent a lot of the week at the pool, without wearing a shirt...something that is decidedly new to me. My close friends have been commenting on how good I look, and how proud they were that I was shirtless. The last few months I've gotten more than a little attention at the bars in Denver. Granted, it's at the "bear" bars, but it's new to me. And I like it!!!
I will continue to go dancing in Denver. I will continue to eat as I have been recently. And I will continue to tighten the belt...and rediscover items in my closet I can wear again! But I will try to be more open about body image, eating disorders, and the hidden crisis men (gay men especially) are facing in America today to live up to impossible ideals. We've broken through a barrier of silence when it comes to women and eating disorders, body image, magazine covers, etc. There's still an epidemic of anorexia, bulimia, and other disorders for women (see the cast of Ally McBeal for examples), but at least we can talk about them as a society.
And for me personally? I rewarded myself. I have long thought about having my nipples pierced, but promised myself that I'd wait until I was skinny and they would look good. I've known a lot of guys who had it done, and I think they look hot! So, after a week of positive reinforcement from a group of friends I trust, a year of working to shed unwanted pounds, and a little ego stroking, I decided I'd done well enough that it was time. I'm sore, and am not looking forward to a couple months of healing, but I am now the proud owner of two shiny new nipple rings. (Anyone trying to play with them, tweak them, or otherwise cause pain with them while healing will suffer honest pain in return...healing must happen, so don't think it's a new game, kiddies!)
I also discovered a whole new way of dancing. This weekend, due in large part to my newfound comfort level and aforementioned positive reinforcement, I let myself go on the dance floor in ways I never had before. I borrowed a friend's glow sticks, and discovered that I can dance with them too! I can dance the way I've always wanted to, as I wished myself skinny. I had people coming up to me and asking me to dance with the glow sticks for them. (And the best part is, the new method of dancing is an even better workout, helping me lose even more weight!)
Today's lesson: we're all beautiful, even if we don't conform to the current standards of fashion, size, etc. It might be difficult to find that beauty in yourself, but chances are that the people who care about you most see it. Work to find it yourself. I don't have to lose weight because my health is at risk (my cholesterol, glucose, etc. have always been good). I don't have to lose weight because other people say I do. I don't have to lose weight because I worry nobody will want to date me unless I do. And now, most importantly, I don't have to do it because I feel like I should hate myself. I'll never be a skinny little thing. But that's okay too.
And that, boys and girls, is post #200. What better way to commemorate a blog milestone than with a personal/emotional one as well? Isn't it funny how the universe looks out for us sometimes?
- I have a much better tan. On more of my body (stayed tuned for post #200).
- I spent a lot of time with some amazing friends. Scott, Craig, and Josh rock my world more than ever. Cory was such a trooper, and took great care of me on more than one occasion. Chuck, Jerry, and Mary are some of the most generous people I've ever met. Jess, Jessi, and Sterling kick ass, and look SO hot in 50's style garb. (End shout outs for the moment).
- I let go of myself in new ways on the dance floor, and discovered I have a whole new way of dancing inside me. More coming in post 201 (I told you...so much to tell you!). Preview: it involves glow sticks.
- I must soon live in a place that has interesting things to see and do. Example: We went to a crepe restaurant this week for brunch. A restaurant. Where the bulk of the menu consisted of crepes. Healthy. Affordable. Amazingly tasty. (And the owner was a little cutie in his 20's.)
- I went to a new gay bar this trip. The Foxhole. I bonded with 3 different lesbians who will be at Rendezvous this morning.
So much more happened this trip, and more will be revealed in short order. However, I want to share the most important lesson from the weekend. Nothing is more important than good friends/family. You can be exhausted, depressed, drunk, dancing, annoyed with your partner...and as long as you have good friends, it's all good. So to all my friends, whether you're gay or not...whether you were at Pride or not...thank you for being a part of my life. I am truly blessed for having you in my life.
Monday, June 19, 2006
I have reached the point where I am counting down hours. I'm finding it hard to focus on the task at hand, regardless of what said task might be. There is packing to be done. I have an AIDS Walk meeting tonight. There's last minute laundry, dishes, etc. I'm putting finishing touches on a few mix CD's made especially for the occasion. I need to vacuum. I REALLY need to mow, but the weather has not been cooperating on days I have the time AND energy. So much to do. *sigh* At this point, I'm happy if I can keep my brain from exploding from the excitement of a week off.
So from Wednesday to Wednesday, don't expect new posts, emails, etc. I will be in a self-imposed digital bubble. I will have the cell phone. You might receive a call telling how nice it is to be drinking cocktails by the pool. At 2pm on a weekday. (Let's be real...it can and will happen.) So here's today's lesson/homework:
GO PLAY! Find something to do with no other intrinsic value. Be lazy, decadent, and summery!
PS...we're only a post or two away from my 200th blog post. There will be some sort of appropriate merry-making here in my corner of cyberspace. Stay tuned!
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owners, Ron, his wife, Lisa, and their little boy, Shane, were all very attached to Belker and they were hoping for a miracle. I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn't do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.
As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for the four-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience. The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker's family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away. The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion.
We sat together for a while after Belker's death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, "I know why." Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I'd never heard a more comforting explanation.
He said, "People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life -- like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?" The four-year-old continued, "Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long."
Today's lesson: Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly.
Friday, June 09, 2006
So the boyfriend cannot come to town this weekend after all. He has to stay in Denver and help some of his groups get ready for Pride - making floats, etc. Needless to say I was a bit...disappointed. Fortunately I have a few friends in long distance relationships, so this was not a total surprise. I've watched them struggle with last minute problems, delays, etc. So I thought I would share the pearl of wisdom that is helping me get through my displeasure.
Remember that when dealing with friends, significant others, etc. who are a distance away, stuff will happen. There will be times when the universe aligns and prevents plans. It's nobody's fault. It doesn't mean they don't WANT to be together with you. It doesn't mean "something better came along." Sometimes, life gets in the way.
I'm reminding myself (continually, until my heart believes what my head knows) that we still love each other. That this wasn't a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We're going to be together for a while, and there will be other weekends for him to come up here. More chances down the road to be together. I'm sad and he feels guilty. Neither of these is overly productive, though they are real and honest and we must accept them. Own them, if you will. As someone I once knew used to say "Bless it and release it."
And now I start thinking about mowing the lawn, washing the car, etc. on a weekend that is suddenly (and sadly) more open.
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
But it also made me think of some old wisdom I wanted to share with the masses, especially those unfamiliar with gay dating. So often GLBT folks don't get a chance to go through the usual dating rituals most American teens endure at the onset of puberty. We develop crushes, feel the surge of hormones, and dream of a first kiss...just like straight people. But because of the bias against same-sex relationships, we don't usually get a chance to date. We don't learn how to ask someone out. We don't learn from rejection, because we're too afraid to ask. We don't learn how to fight with a partner, make up with a partner, or decide if the time is right to even make out with one!
We have to go through the painful, awkward dance that is "courtship" later in life than most people. Granted, as GLBT youth come out at earlier ages this is shifting somewhat; many of us couldn't come out in junior high or high school. It just wasn't safe, especially if you grew up somewhere other than an urban locale, repleat with gay clubs, community centers, and youth groups. Dating is a hard thing to learn. It's even harder when you're a decade behind the learning curve.
Today's homework: Spend some time thinking about how and when you learned to date. Think about how it would have been different if your sexual orientation were different. Discuss it with a friend. Leave a comment here on the blog. Just think. :)
Thursday, June 01, 2006
I am an American. I am a son. I am a brother. I am an uncle. I am a gay man. I wish I had a President I could support, but I don't.
I am sad and disillusioned. The party to which Bush belongs has strayed from its core beliefs and has become a puppet of the extreme right and big money interest groups. Many Republicans believe in small government, small government spending, low taxes for all, privacy, and states rights. President Bush does not appear to believe in these.
I am thinking of my niece. I want her to grow up as a citizen of a great country that respects all of its citizens: One where not just the richest one percent get tax cuts; One where the government works for the people but doesn't invade their homes or their bedrooms; One where my President doesn't run up a record national debt that was non-existent 6 years ago; One where if my niece is gay or straight, she will have the same rights as her peers; One that is respected in the world community;
One where I am equal.
What people don't understand is that the current President of the United States made history when he called a press conference and announced that he was going to support an amendment that would make a minority group second class citizens and use the most sacred document in this country, the Constitution, to do so. No president has ever done this.
George Bush will try to do it again next week.
If he had done this for a racial minority group, he would have been impeached. This President said to the world that I am not equal.
I don't want to get married, yet. I do want the option. I also want my friends who are in loving and committed relationships to have the same rights as our straight counterparts. We are denied over 1,100 rights everyday. This also affects their children.
Your church doesn't have to support my relationship; I would never ask that. I do not consider myself a Christian, or Jewish, or Muslim, or any religion.
When we begin to deny rights to one segment of our population, where does it end? Have we not learned from history?
I know there are a lot of issues in this country: the war, our children being killed overseas for this war, poverty, health care, and many others that our President could use his influence to change, but instead he is trying to polarize the country over an issue that he thinks will keep his people in power.
My niece could live her entire life and her uncle will have never been equal.
I face living in a country where my love will never be equal.
I face living in a country where I will never be equal.
I am Jim Osborn.