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Day 10
To enjoy life. What does that look like? I have these moments where I desire to connect with my gay audience and in all honesty, I love it. I battle with the perception of my family and society at times because the inner and outer critic begins to speak, you’re too old. The word evolve comes up. But in those few moments, I get to remember that liberated feeling of what it is to be a free gay black man and that that doesn’t have to be the only aspect of who I am but I think I’m doing a much better job of portraying that. I never felt those parts didn’t exist, I just didn’t have the means to express them fully because, I feel the lack of access to information. I remember when I was trying to study martial arts, I was only able to make class twice a week. I’d go to the gym and practice what I’d learned but it does not compare to the amount of time I’m able to put in it now, with my brother. We worked out for 2 hours straight, no rest and it was so healing. When I was in my 20s after Juilliard and doing my broadway experience, I was in the best shape of my life and after HiV and sitting in a room for 6 years trying to recover from that experience , I never thought I’d feel this way again. I had so much energy. My body felt limber and strong and I could have gone longer. I lay awake having had 5-6 hours of sleep and even though a little fatigued, I am so excited and ready to do it again. I never thought I’d have my body like this again. I’m grateful for this moment. Grateful for the body I’ve been given and grateful for never giving up on myself. I’m grateful for the people who never gave up on me and pushed me, scolded me, when I wasn’t living up to the potential they saw. I think I started teaching because a small part of me was trying to give what I thought I’d never have the chance to achieve but maybe those small experiences, the people I worked with saw what I couldn’t see and wouldn’t let me quit. Maybe they heard what I was asking for before I knew what I was asking for. I know people worry about me and sex. Given my past, I can surely understand why. And tho it may look similar, it is not. I was watching this YouTuber who refers to his subscribers as deep divers and he talks about four stages of becoming, I can’t remember all 4 but I remember he talked about the artist being stage 2 in which they are enlightened but trapped by needing the spotlight. I remember that feeling. I wonder if the moments like yesterday are that or perhaps just a genuine need to connect with my right now, underfed gay sexuality. I understand how people can see it as a distraction only because maybe it’s not understood where it is coming from. I’m 33 and to some that may sound old but to me it feels like a whole new beginning but imagine never having had the opportunity to really understand your sexuality and be ok with it. I was 26 when I really started to see it as something other than sex. And not until I was about 30 or 31 when I started not being ashamed of my sexuality. I have a new friend, Steven. And one of the things we’ve discussed is the relationship to porn. Now, I understand for some people this may actually be a bad thing but I honestly think it can be treated like any other information, the key is to having the right balance. The perception I grew up with is if I watched it, It would influence my actions and I would start to participate in these kind of behaviors but the reality is when I was a kid, I started doing that without access to porn. I had sexual desires and the only way I could explore was with other men in secret. Some of them I knew and some, I didn’t. I think I did this because, trying to suppress it and asking God to take it away wasn’t working. I remember repenting afterward. Asking God to forgive me and purify me again. I used to go to re virgin or commitment ceremonies to commit myself back to Christ for my sexual impurities. It was the first time I’d seen my father cry. To him, I was just committing to remain a Virgin cause he didn’t know anything about what was really happening, so I led with the illusion that I was still a Virgin. I talked myself into believing it because I had never had sex with a girl so technically, I was still a Virgin, right? When I turned 30 and started looking at porn through the gaze of information and not shame, I started to ask myself why do I like this? What is it about this that I’m drawn to? Why these men? Why these scenarios? I remember watching a video of two white guys in their late twenties and it was like they were discovering it for the first time but what I remember most was the freedom they had. It wasn’t secretive, there was no shame, they looked happy like two well adjusted young men who were just doing what any normal gay guys did. And in that moment, I saw what I wanted, What I was looking for. Freedom, to express myself and live my life free from familiar judgement. Free from society’s perception of me. Free from the, I’m supposed to’s and shoulda, woulda, coulda’s. 😂😂 I’m free to have a naked dance party in my bathroom and celebrate with the audience who can appreciate it. I’m free to discuss all the wonderful complexities of being a gay man with my support group and as one of my daddies puts it, chosen family. I have self control because, I know this moment is only temporary and is no longer a prison of, you can’t be this... that part of me is always waiting for me when I go back to New York, scratch that. It goes with me everywhere I go because it is a part of me but knowing I have love and support around it in New York, makes it a lot less urgent. I don’t know if I’ll ever fit the “normal” archetype of the monogamous seeking settle down family type man. I love the family I have built for myself and am learning to re-love the family I’ve been given. Replacing the stories of fear and pain with, love and honestly, comedy/ laughter. The other day my parents just burst into praying in tongues and I called it the praying orgasm and honestly, I think they know cause my father did it again and the second time, it actually sounded like an orgasm. I thought to myself, this is gold! It will make such a good recurring joke in my series, whenever I write it. Lol. Right now, it feels good to just be living it. I may still have to wear a shirt around the house and even in the backyard. I definitely can’t parade around in my underwear or jockstraps like I can in New York or continue to explore all the sexually interesting interests New York has to offer but I no longer have to be the child who doesn’t know what that is or what that kind of love feels like. This is a moment. And I’m having an experience. I saw a post on social media saying something like, you can choose if you come back from quarantine the same and it honestly felt like judgement but perhaps it isn’t that. I often perceive comments like that in regard to my sexuality but that’s my perception. Maybe if I looked at it as referring to the pain I’ve been carrying around it’ll take on a completely different meaning. Part 2 Do I want to become an influencer in my community? Is that what this is? Forgive me, but what does that look like? I left to go and find the healing and acceptance I needed because I couldn’t get it, in my community. To become a whole person. And now, the question is do I want to be an influencer? I think I already am. If there is any message that I would spread it is to love yourself without condition, despite what the world, your community or society expresses what they want. Because it’s only in my truth and acceptance that I found happiness and the strength to truly love and care for myself the way my community has and to some degree still fails me. For some reason it’s believed that the answer is to pretend to be the idea of what you think I should be vs being a responsible free thinking gay black man, who analyzes his choices and promotes discovery over just taking orders like he’s told. So, if this is your criteria for being an influencer, Please keep your fake agenda and I’ll go on being myself. Control, what an interesting word. When did wanting to control your own life become wanting to control everything? I thought stepping away was letting go. I just wanna be real. Authenticity is what I’ve always been after. I have this question that even tho sharing is “in” is it still authentic? Why can’t I be concerned about a pandemic that doesn’t seem totally honest? Why am I supposed to just shut up and follow along with what I’m hearing? Even if I heard the “facts” yesterday, what about today? This isn’t the first time my curiosity has been dismissed because someone older or in a position of “power” treats me like, cause I said so. I think what many of the people of my generation feel is why are we still treated like children? This whole influencer thing really has me pissed off. Why can’t I tell my story, the way I tell my story. I believe in being sex positive, I believe in being body positivity. Should I feel ashamed because I work on my body and enjoy the way it looks. I’m not trying to pretend to be perfect. I just want to love myself for myself. I can’t help if it makes someone else insecure. I’m sorry, but I’m not sorry. If that comes up for an individual, that’s their work to do. I’m doing a ton of work to rid myself of my past traumas. I’m home, facing my family, healing, connecting in a new way and I like it. But what I feel sometimes, is bitterness. I know my story isn’t everyone’s. I can’t help that. I remember I used to get jealous when people’s lives were growing faster than mine but then realized what a complete waste of time that was and what I decided to do instead, was keep growing. Grow faster. Learn how to have what they are having. Learn as much as I could and work hard. Even now as I write, I’m watching a master Class by Robin Roberts I’m effective communication cause I don’t believe I have it mastered but wow, the responses I’ve gotten because I decided to take a break from what feels like a lot of negativity. I appreciate the ones who just showed me love cause they get it. But then comes the defense. Why get defensive unless you know I’m talking about you? I don’t point anyone out or point any fingers. It was very general.

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