People often think that I’m gay.
I bet that’s not how you expected a post on this site to start. Or maybe you did, depending on whether or not you are someone who has misinterpreted my writings. Either way it’s an issue that I seem to face on a semi regular basis in my life. It used to really upset me when people came to this assumption. I’d screw up my face in disgust and start forcefully jamming my heterosexuality down their throat. I am a Goddamn straight man! How dare anyone believe otherwise! But nowadays I find myself impartial to the common misconception of who I am. I’ve had to correct people about my sexual preferences more times than I’d like to admit; watching as people fumble their way through awkward apologies as they try to explain how they came to such a conclusion. More often than not the reason behind their misconception of my preferences boils down to a statement like this:
‘You’re just different to most twenty six year old men that I know.’
Damn fucking straight I am. But just because I am different, that doesn’t necessarily mean that I am a homosexual. What it does mean is that I am a unique entity operating within a world that doesn’t always have the capacity to accept that which is different or unique. The differences that people seem to find confronting in me is my love for art, my vocabulary, my animated expressions, my willingness to accept myself as an emotional being, and my openness to a world of possibilities that extends beyond my own beliefs.
The fact that people find this confronting, different, or gay is a troubling prospect to this young writer. Even now as I pen this rather honest entry I can feel the judgement of my audience bearing down on me. Straight men don’t admit that they are thought to be homosexual. In fact many don’t admit to having feelings or an emotional state at all. If you were to take ten straight men, stick them in a room and ask them to talk about their emotions you’d find that at least nine, if not all ten, would venomously condemn the idea and label it as gay.
And therein that idea lays a very big problem. Men across the globe are so afraid of opening their soul to the world that any attempt to have them display emotion and be potentially labelled as weak causes them to openly slander the notion of expressing themselves. They think that to be a man they have to be free of the feminine concept of feelings. Bad idea. We as humans are emotional creatures whether we choose to admit it or not, and by bottling up those emotions we males are creating a whole world of mental health issues for ourselves. Don’t believe me? Statistics across the globe show year after year that men are three times as likely as to kill themselves than women. I repeat; men are three times as likely as women to commit suicide. And a large contributing factor to our willingness to end our lives is our inability to accept our emotions and communicate when we are struggling or feeling low.
We are so worried about being labelled as weak or gay that we are literally killing ourselves rather than seeking help. Does that not sound like a fucking ludicrous absurdity to anyone else?
So how do we fix such a startling problem in our society? Simple, it’s time that people start realising that real men are brave enough to talk about their issues and seek help. There is nothing weak about saying I’m not OK. But there is a weakness in denying ourselves the opportunity to heal. It took me a long time to figure this out, and in many ways I’m still learning how to be open and honest in relation to how I am feeling. I spent a long time believing that I had to be strong. I told myself that my emotions were weaknesses and I denied myself so many opportunities to be happy. I pushed myself to some truly horrible places and it wasn’t until I found writing that I managed to save myself from a grim fate. Through writing I found a way to express myself; to unlock that pressure valve inside my heart and release that pent up emotion that was pulling me down like a pair of concrete boots in an ocean of fear.
Even to this day I’m still learning that it is my emotional side that makes me who I am. When people fall in love they don’t do so based on aesthetics (although they do play a part in initial attraction) they do so based on emotion. Exterior beauty fades, but one’s emotive side is eternal. So if you’re not willing to accept yourself and the wondrous idiosyncrasies that make you who you are, how can you ever expect anyone else to love you? You can’t shut down that emotional side of your personality and expect to find happiness.
So let me get this straight. I’m not gay. But I am emotive, arrogant, aggressively creative, passionate, and about a million other things. I am different from the average twenty six year old man because I’m not afraid to be vulnerable; in fact I’m learning to thrive off of that vulnerability. In many respects I’m a narcissist. I have a terrible habit for revelling in that which makes me unique and constantly believing that I am the smartest person in the room. I am a heterosexual man, but I’m not insulted when someone insinuates that I am gay. Because what they really mean is that I am unlike what they consider to be normal. And in the strangest of ways I have learned to take that as a compliment.
Who the hell wants to be normal anyway?