Thursday, February 08, 2007

Accepting The Whole of Me

[Note: Scroll down to read the lyrics as you listen to Jadon Lavik's "What If" on YouTube.]

I was *this* close to coming out to my gym trainer tonight.

We were in the elevator after completing my workout and he asked if I had big plans for Valentine's Day. Sigh. It would have been a perfect opportunity to talk about the "guy" that i'm interested in. But I chickened out. My trainer and I have gotten to know each other quite a bit. In 2005, I was with him for a six month stretch (helped me lose 32 pounds), then for another two months that year. Even through 2006, we'd chat every now and again. Now i've secured his help once again for another six months. And I still haven't come out to him.

Do I need to tell him? Does he need to know? Hmm. Well, the thing is - we've been getting to know each other. Why shouldn't I want him to know me authentically . . . .

Over the past several weeks, i've been many things. I've been a groomsman. I've been a brother. I've been a son. I've been an uncle. I've been a friend. I've been an ass. I've been a jokester. I've been a slob. I've been a snob. I've been a stereotype. I've been a romantic. I've been a loner. I've been a photographer. I've been a speech writer. I've been a host. I've been a hiker. I've been a client. I've been a blimp. I've been a guest. I've been a room mate. I've been a stranger. I've been a savior. I've been a punk. I've been a fool. I've been a student. I've been a teacher. I've been an example. I've been a consultant. I've been a counselor. I've been a closet-case. I've been a basket-case. I've been a leader. I've been a disciple. I've been a seat-warmer.

Of the many things that i've been over the past several weeks, I've been learning to accept that who ever I am at any given moment and in any given context, it's okay. . . . It's simply okay. I can own it unapologetically because the truth is that I am not any one of those things. I am all of those things. And so even though I may fall short in some respects or I may disappoint someone or I may fail to meet another's expectations or standards - I am learning to live out the simple idea that God loves the whole of me. Further, He accepts the whole of me. And if I believe that - or at the very least, if I say I believe that - then I also have to accept the whole of me. If I can accept me, then perhaps I can begin to present myself to the world authentically.

"Coming out" isn't about telling my gym trainer that I'm gay. For me, coming out is more about living an authentic life. It starts with me being okay with me - along with all my strengths, short comings and insecurities. Then it is genuinely expressed in my interaction with others. The key, I think, is that it doesn't matter if those others are "okay with me". Their acceptance of me doesn't govern whether or not i'm okay with me. But at least they know me and we can move forward from there.

The scariest part of trying to be authentic is the vulnerability of transparency. I am still afraid of what certain people would think of me if they knew the "real" me. But it's not just being afraid of what they think. I'm also afraid of their reaction. I'm afraid of what I could lose. And yet, imagine what I could gain!

At the end of the day, i'm still very much a work in progress. And that's okay. I'll come out to my gym trainer when i'm ready. Maybe you'll come out to certain others when you're ready. I don't think everyone necessarily needs to know. Unless, that is, if I want them to know. Perhaps, learning to accept myself as I am will help me to accept you as you are and we will accept each other as we are.

On my journey, I don't simply want to know myself. I want to accept myself. I've got a ton of insecurities just looking in the mirror. I can't afford to be paralyzed by them. I've been silent too long. I've been timid too long. I just want to move forward so that I can live my life, love my God, cherish my family, comfort my beloved, appreciate my friends and honor my heroes.

I wanted to share with you this super awesome incredible song that my good friend Josh shared with me. It's one of my new favorite songs! (Hehe, so of course every time I get a new favorite song, I've gotta share it with you, right?! - See my YouTube video index in the right column!) I think the song is "absolutemente fabuloso"! (Josh has been teaching me tidbits of spanish.) The YouTube video is just pictures so read through the lyrics below it as you listen to the song:

"What If" by Jadon Lavik
From the album Moving On Faith

What if I climbed that mountain
What if I swam to that shore
What if every battle was victorious then would you love me more?
Would you love me more?

What if I were everyone’s first choice
What if I went farther than before
What if I stood high above the rest then would you love me more?
Would you love me more?

You say I belong to You apart from the things I do
You say I belong to You I’m in awe of why You do
Why You do, why You do
I’m in awe of You, ooh

What if I ignored the hand that fed me
What if I forgot to confess
What if I stumbled down that mountain then would you love me less?
Lord would You love me less

What if I were everyone’s last choice
What if I mixed in with the rest
What if I failed what I passed before
then would you love me less Lord would you
would you love me less, oh no oh no oh no

You say I belong to You apart from the things I do
You say I belong to You I’m in awe of why You do
You do, You do, You do

What have I done to deserve Your son sent to die for me?
What can I give I want to live give me eyes to see
In a world that keeps changin’ there’s one thing that I know is true
Your love is stayin’ there’s nothing else I’ll hold on to

You say I belong to You apart from the things I do
You say I belong to You I’m in awe of why You do
Why You do

You say I belong to You apart from the things I do
You say I belong to You I’m in awe of why You do
I’m in awe of You,
I’m in awe of You.

The way You love me, the way You do
The way You do, the way You love me, You love me, You love me
The way You do, the way You do, the way You love me
The way You love, You love, You love


Anonymous said...

I'm so glad to have gotten to know you better this last month, Eric! I love you for all of you, work in progress and everything! And I must say, you have excellent taste in music! Hmm :)


Anonymous said...

Hmmm... this is a tough one. It's almost like, does your college professor or tax guy need to know you're gay?

Would your relationship (either friendship or trainer-client relationship) benefit or suffer from this revelation? Or would it be just the same?

Just my opinion, I don't think everyone around me necessarily have to know everything about me. And that doesn't mean that I'm being a fraud or secretive or not having an authentic lifestyle. Or maybe I'm just a little bit of a private person. I believe in having a "need to know" basis. If it comes up, then it comes up. Would you deny or lie about it?

Maybe this question will help you decide... If you bump into him on your birthday, would you tell him it's your birthday? Or would you just let it slide?

Anonymous said...

I'm from the school of thought that sexuality is fundamental to who we are as people, and to hide that is indeed to compromise your authentic self. I would imagine you know that to your core, but the voices of conservative homophobes can drown out your instinct as they insist that YOU are making and ISSUE of it, "throwing it in their face" etc. etc. I am often in an opposite position when queer people talk to me thinking that I am lesbian, and my rule is I let them assume it, until to do so would be lying...e.g. playing the pronoun game. At various times I have tried to "keep my heterosexuality to myself" but it is exhausting. I really appreciated the interviews with the straight guys in "Boy Meets Boy" in which they talked after the fact about their constant fear of getting "caught" and the insight they gained as to what it must be like for gay men every day, not just for a few days on a reality show.

And who knows? Maybe your trainer has a gay dad but has never felt safe telling anyone before. Maybe he is struggling with his own identity and is praying that someone will reach out to him.

Anonymous said...

Eric, you rock my socks off. I love reading your blogs ... they are always so honest and ... pertinent. ;) I love that song!

Thanks for being you ... you've been a huge encouragement to me these last couple of months... :)

Anonymous said...

yay jadon lavik. dang. march 3 is gonna mark the dawning of a new age.

J said...

I, too, love reading your posts! I wish we lived closer so we could just grab coffee and chat about what you write as opposed to discuss things through the internet. C'est la vie . . .

I enjoyed your perspective on this one. Yes, we're ALL of those things, not just one of those things. So many people tend to see us as "Gay Justin" or "Gay Eric" and not as Justin and Eric when they discover the truth about our sexual orientation - and it diminshes who we are.

At the same point, do they know who you are without that piece? I think it depends on the situation. If you can go 100 years in a relationship with your trainer and never have a conversation about your attractions to others because it just doesn't come up, that's fine. If it's something you want to share with him, or if it were to come up in conversation, then I think you can decide what you want to do.

PS- I LOVE that song! They play it on the radio station out here all the time, and it's one of my favs. Rock on!