Breaking preconceptions

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?

Author: Chris Nicholas

Chris Nicholas is an author from Brisbane, Australia. He has published two novels, and is currently working on his third.

15 thoughts on “Breaking preconceptions”

  1. Maybe you just dress really nice?

    It’s true that men commit suicide at a higher rate than women but women have a higher rate of attempted suicide. It’s possible that men are just better at killing themselves..haha

  2. Great post, thank you for being so honest. It’s so true, and although I grew up with three sisters and have mostly female friends and pride myself on being more emotional (or at least emotionally expressive, or emotionally free?) than most heterosexual men, there are major times when I’m terrified to cry in public, even at the death of a relative or an amazing revelation, or even a film. Perhaps my new years resolutions will include a part on being emotionally true to myself!

  3. Chris, this is a great post! Thank you for sharing yourself with us. I find that refreshing. It tells me one thing, “This is a man I’d like to get to know better and chat with over some wine or in my case, diet coke with no ice!” LOL I am an old lady and have met many people throughout my life, macho, geeky, gay, straight, artistic, boring, intellectual, fake, you name it and I’ve met that person. However, when I got to know that person I discovered they are not that way at all, or at least, not all the time. Also I’ve learned that people do change as they age because they experience things that they have not experienced before and experience is a great teacher. So, the title of this post, “Breaking Preconceptions,”is an important message and an important lesson for all to learn. Thank you, Chris!

  4. Chris, Thanks for liking my recent posts. I feel great to know you enjoyed them.
    And I just wanted to say that I think Breaking Preconseptions rocks! I commend your commitment to tuning into your emotions openly. Isn’t it crazy that that is such a rare thing in our culture?! We have a long way to go. This post also struck a chord with me as this is something I have been committing myself to as well, over this past year…hence the name of my blog…”learningtocry”
    That’s literal. Expressing my feelings is something I have to consciously work on. All of the literature supports what you drew on in your piece.
    I have been planning on putting a quote on my blog about feelings from a book I’m reading. Try to get to that soon. Hope you can check out some of my older posts as well to get a sense of my journey. Leave me a comment with the post if you find anymore you like.

  5. Great post! Whether male or female, those who can express feelings and emotions make the best writers/artists. And the healthiest human beings! 🙂

  6. Great post! Thanks for liking my post, anyway. I think this is definitely a problem, and it hurts straight and gay men, not to mention women. The idea that straight guys can’t be expressive or emotional because those are supposedly feminine traits pigeonholes everyone into certain ways they should act or speak, and I hate it. Keep up the good writing!

  7. Gay or not a Gay…. How does it even matter? The whole world, including conservative cultures like mine are opening up to it…. A Gay who reads this might feel offended…
    In between, if being emotional, artistic, and different amounts to being possibly seen as a gay, then Einstein, Michelangelo, M. Twain, Albert Camus etc etc., should all be gays! Just imagine for a moment how these great men would have reacted if someone asked them if they were a Gay… They would have laughed their lungs out. So should you dear friend 🙂 “Care about what other people think, and you will always remain their prisoner” – Lao Tzu.

  8. A very true point to make. It has been a year since I was honest with myself in accepting I needed to seek help with my escalating anxiety. To say to friends I have been having counselling was probably deemed to be ‘gay’. But it was all in my head. I was being strong and they knew it. Great post!

  9. I state often (too often, I’m becoming a bore) that there’s only one* opinion of you in the entire world that matters a damn — and that one is yours.

    * Count ’em: 1

  10. I came here, because you”liked” my post “Needle at Sea Bottom” Blogging 101 – “About”.

    When at the barber shop. There are two subjects generally accepted to stay clear of, Religion and Politics. So far you hit both firmly on the head. Since, sexual preference definitely falls into the politics section.

    I’m kind of bothered by the “I’m not gay” stance. Do you think your readers really care? I see it’s making a point, still c’mon? You seem erudite, despite the use of profane language. I’ve used similar language on the shop floor, etc. I do not feel it belongs in a writing forum. Unless really, really, necessary. One can always find another choice of words. Who knows maybe your father, mother, or loved one, might read it one day? Be like cream and rise to the top.

    Kudos for writing and showing a willingness to learn. Nothing wrong with being twenty six. A lot of us, were, The real beauty in aging. Is finding out how we can be wrong and the learning process that comes after, no matter how painful…. rock on, Cheers Jamie.

  11. America needs more men to be three dimensional. Being vulnerable means being alive to all that life offers. Why would any human want to close himself off to living life with passionately? hugs for sharing…

  12. Interesting. I have some of the traits and activities commonly associated with homosexuals, yet I have never (to my face, at least) been considered gay. I wonder what the differing factors could be.

    Three possibilities come to mind:

    1) I have not lived in environments where overt homosexuality is common

    2) I dress in what is cheap, utilitarian and comfortable (so usually look like crap 🙂

    3) Being quite large, perhaps there is a fear component.

    Any other ideas?

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