Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got

Been thinking lately as snow and cold and dark has made me contemplative and able to do little else.

I know from going on my gay cruise twice previously that near the end of the voyage the pressure to conform can be overwhelming, and a feeling sets in, something along the lines of “Why can’t I be like everybody else?” Something as I grow older I realize everyone feels, to varying degrees.

On a daily basis I am appreciative of all I have and who I am. I have found though a lot of pressure to conform on this cruise, leading to thoughts of “Why aren’t I thinner?” “Why can’t I dance til 5 am?” “Why didn’t I buy $200 shorts?” and most importantly “Why can’t I just not think of this stuff and dance and smile like everyone else?”

Now if I sit, and go through this issue by issue as I’ve been doing, I come up with some surprising results.

Regarding appearance, I do realize you can’t have it all. I was watching the UK version of Big Brother and the very attractive and gay Charlie was asked by another fellow why the two hadn’t hooked up yet. His response? “I haven’t been drunk enough yet.” The fact that this for him was a valid response, spoken without malice, floored me. But I suppose a life of smiling pretty and dancing with your shirt off doesn’t really school you on the depths of human emotion.

Also what I found interesting with this show was that I found the unique looking bisexual Freddie MUCH more compelling and HOT than the Mr. Gay UK finalist Charlie.  If I find the uniqueness hotter, others must too.



And a final thought on this, I recently bought a digital watch. I’ve never had one before, and it reminds me of something I have heard some simple, pretty people say when they have seen clocks with Roman numerals or dashes instead of numbers, that they can’t tell time without numbers on the face of the clock. So I thought to myself, if I could keep my brain in tact and be the most handsome man on the planet, would I give up the ability to tell time without numbers, or would I rather stay as I was? The answer was I would rather stay as I was. My uniqueness, my individuality, is my identity. I wouldn’t change it for anything.

Regarding dancing til 5 am and $200 shorts, these again are things that seem ideal in the abstract but that I don’t actually want in principle. Would I like to stay up til 5 and miss every port of call? No. Would I like to stay up til 5 and get 3 hours sleep a night? Hell, no. Would I give up $200 worth of cool art books for a pair of shorts? No again. So while these things may drift through my head, after following them to their conclusion, I will let them keep drifting.

And the final one, perhaps the one that dogs me the most: Why do I need to run this over in my head? Why do I need to contemplate? Why can’t I just smile and dance like everyone else?

A couple observations on this: Firstly, the ability to not tell people you haven’t been drunk enough to sleep with them, to weigh people’s feelings, does not come without reflection.

Secondly I spoke to my dentist about this concept. She said “Adam, who you are, who people meet on the boat, is who you are in Toronto, you are yourself, always, and that’s what you offer. Others go on these trips and pretend, put on a mask, try to convince themselves and others. You are always you.”

I think the essence of this entire exercise, the raison d’être, is self-acceptance. And although part of the reason I wrote this out is to have the analysis BEFORE I got on the cruise, not during, what I now get is that I will still have some of these feelings, no matter what I do. That’s all a part of me. And rather than fighting these thoughts, rallying against them, coming up with strategies to avoid them, just accept them as part of the parcel and have that be okay.

People talk about changing themselves and wishing for things to be different, in general I don’t. Every day I wake up and think “This is what I’ve got to work with today, this mind, this body, this life, let’s make the most of it!” Self acceptance isn’t the easiest road to get to the end of, but hey, a thought, there isn’t an end. There is, like life itself, just the journey.

And that, like me, is okay.

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