As I mature, I realize how the opinions of others are less-and-less important to how I see myself. I never realized how much I internalized the opinions of others and sadistically tried to be more like what everyone believed I was. In the last couple of years, I’ve allowed more of the real me to be exposed to others. I’ve accepted that I am not always the outgoing person people think I am, I’m not always funny and yes, I even get offended by hurtful comments. Initially there was a fear that at 37, I would somehow be rejected by the very people that meant the most to me. What I found was that I’ve already suffered rejection from people that I believed were the closest to me and that at this point in my life, I will either be accepted for who I am – wholly – or acknowledge that they don’t really have a place in my life. It’s a scary feeling to think that the people you care about the most will not be there, but it’s even more terrifying and self-defeating to feel that the person that my loved ones respect and care about is not me. This year, I’ve begun a journey of truth –with myself. I’m trying my best to be honest with myself - what I’m good at, what I suck at and loving who I am – today. The challenge is not if others will love me if they know who I am, but if I will love myself if I know who I am. So far, I like me. I’m accepting that my sense of humor is sometimes fueled by my need to shield myself – hey, if I poke fun at myself and make a wise crack about myself, I diffuse anything you can say, right? Wrong. It serves to deflate my self esteem. My cutting wit is founded on years of jaded pain that has found an outlet in sarcasm and hysterical tongue-poison…funny at times, but when I’m alone with myself, I think that I probably wouldn’t find myself amusing if I was listening from outside of myself. My unrealistic expectations of people I date are cemented in my effort to sabotage anyone’s attempt to cross the barbwire that now encases my heart. Now I know. Now I can work toward overcoming some of these issues. If I know who I am, I can help grow into a man I can love.
Religion vs. Common Sense
The issue of church vs. State has always been at the forefront of many discussions. Most recently in NYC, the Catholic Church was up in arms over the city’s decision to blanket the city with their new free condom campaign. With over 100,000 New Yorkers living with HIV or AIDS, the mayor said, it isn’t a question of faith, but of saving the lives of New Yorkers who are not practicing abstinence or safe sex. The question becomes one of common sense. Should we rely on the Catholic Church’s message of abstinence to protect folks from a deadly condition or should we simply explain that if you are going to have sex, you should make it less risky. There are so many religious beliefs and moral stands that can be taken about sex outside of marriage, homosexual sex, etc., but the issue of saving lives should be universal. Providing condoms doesn’t send a message of condoning or promoting sex, but one of responsible intimacy and the fight to save lives.
Last year our Ski Trip was off the chain! As we gear-up to leave for our 2007 Ski Trip weekend, I look back on one of last year's highlights - when the ladies attempted to drown me in front of several hundred attendees!
Step outside yourself… Would you be your friend? Looking from the outside in, what issue(s) would you have with yourself?
Keep passin’ the open windows…