Thursday, July 10, 2014

My Hero's Journey: Nourishing the Soul with "Gay Family Values"

I am forever fascinated by how the human mind works. As an actor, I am also, fascinated, sometimes perplexed but always thoroughly focused on how my own mind works. Why do I do the things I do? In learning to understand these things I not only improve my skills as an artist, but I am also enriching my life as a person.

Having recently made a personal commitment to release the "victim" self-identification and replace it with that of a "hero" facing life's ups and downs with a sense of adventure, I am faced with the realization that for change to take root, you need to replace the old default images with something else. Something better.

I'm sure anyone reading this is saying "What the hell is this dude talking about? Well, what I can say? I am moving through a rough patch in life, as well all do from time to time. Finances are "tight", romance has been non-existent for so long I'm at the point of feeling like that is my "new normal."  This is where following one's dreams gets interesting. When I am booking work and doing what I love, I can look past the fact that I am single, sometimes lonely and don't have a partner to share my life's joy with. However, the joy of "career movement" gives one hope that if this is possible surely love is possible as well.

Unfortunately, it is when, like now, finances are tight, auditions are not leading to booking and life just feels like a "hot mess" that I am reminded of the challenges of being alone. This is where the "victim mentality" rises up and reminds me that the only time I was knee deep in love, it ended in his passing away from complications due to AIDS mere months before the "cocktail" was discovered and made
available. Now while I have come to terms with that loss, many many moons ago, I have also realized that I made an unconscious choice to shut down and not expect I deserved to find love again as if that was my only shot. As I read what I am writing, I recognize that this thinking is completely illogical. And consciously, I have tried to move on but something has always felt, well... broken. I see now that it was that childhood victim crap, the internalization of my severe bullying as a teen that was controlling my mind's default thinking.

It is only in this painfully uncomfortable excavation of my lifelong thinking patterns that I realize I need to consciously fill up on healthy images of loving LGBT relationships to provide myself with a "spiritual/mental".road map to recognizing that not only is a healthy well-adjusted life partner in the cards for me but is something I can embody within myself.  I believe you attract to your life what you are mentally equal to, if that makes any sense. In essence until I get my mental house in order, the only thing I'll be attracting is crap.

Now, I say all of this not from a rehashing of any "victim wallowing" or desire to mourn the past but a recognition that I need to replace that broken record with a new song.

Enter "Youtube" and my social media education. In this ongoing learning experience, I have become completely stunned by the power of "story" via a 11 minute or less clip. I understand the use of the word community which never quite made sense to me before with regard to youtube. As you get absorbed into the stories of individuals on channels that resonate with you, it is startling how personal it feels.

I have recently stumbled upon some lgbt youtubers who just make my soul smile. Most notably have been the Leffew family of the youtube channel "Gay Family Values".  I discovered them when randomly watching clips of a young 20 something gay couple who were being "called out" so to speak by the couple of "Gay Family Values."  The "call out" was done with love and sparked what I thought was a healthy debate. (I am still getting use to the interactive elemnt of "YouTube.")  The added benefit to me was that it connected me with some gay youtubers who were over the age of 26. While there is nothing wrong with being 26 or younger, I enjoy listening to the voices of various ages within the lgbt community. In my initial search on youtube "gay family values" didn't pop up or perhaps they did and I needed this "drama" for them to stand out.

Needless to say, I have become hooked on watching their videos and discovering their views as gay rights activists. They have definitely given me a lot to think about. What I enjoy about their channel is they are a real normal couple with children living their lives showing the straight world that lgbt families are no different than theirs and deserving of all the rights and frankly the respect due any other family.

On this channel I have found for myself, as a gay man, something healing, hopeful and genuinely uplifting to ME as a person just from watching their videos. I have never thought about adopting children, or felt it was something for me but I completely respect them for the incredible family they have created.  I was watching today a variety of videos from numerous channels about a "Big Gay Vacation" they hosted along the Russian river in Northern California.  It was terrific watching gay men of different ages and ethnic backgrounds coming together to bond and celebrate friendship and family.  I found myself thinking of the importance of my friends in my own life. I recalled friends who passed away and friends who've moved away and out of my life to follow their own path. There is power and strength from community in whatever form that takes. Their videos remind me that I am blessed and with each day, despite my current challenges, I have the opportunity to live with joy and love.

Okay, I am rambling but for some reason I felt the need to acknowledge this opportunity I have been presented with, by the Universe", to fill my mind with images and stories of real, loving lgbt couples.  It may be a long road before I find my life partner, but it is definitely nice to feel it is possible again.

My hero's journey continues...

Before you go, I am attaching a clip from their Big Gay Vacation. Enjoy it then take a trip over to their channel- "Gay Family Values", to see what inspiration looks like!!
Visibility does matter.          

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