Thursday, June 28, 2018

Gay My Way: A Pride Story + Rex + Fortune Cookie Wisdom

Credit: Pinterest

Gay My Way: A Pride Story


So i've not really posted much about Pride Month this month mostly because of so many other things going on, but also because i wasn't quite sure what to write. After a bit of reflection I have decided to write about a book I just finished reading called Toughskins by William Masswa because it's the first book i've read that truly captures my sense of my own sexuality.

Before i start talking about the book, I just want to shed a little more light on my journey of self-discovery. From an early age, i was into wrestling. There was always something so appealing and satisfying to me about going toe to toe with another guy in a battle for dominance, but to be truthful, i never wanted to "win".  I always wanted to be at the mercy of my opponent which didn't make sense to me until i was old enough to understand what was really happening... it turned me on!

To be clear, i never wrestled competitively. We didn't have a wrestling team at any of the schools i went to growing up and i probably wouldn't have joined one even if i had the chance. Even then i was smart enough to realize that would be too dangerous for a shy, geeky kid like me who was already questioning my sexuality and getting picked on by other kids for not being sufficiently "manly".

No, i got my wrestling kicks by wrestling with schoolmates or in my backyard at home with neighborhood kids. That was much more my speed and much safer because there typically wasn't an audience.  I remember wrestling this kid a little bit older than me at an after school childcare center when i was maybe 10 or 11. He was tall and strong and loved tossing me around. To this day, I still remember his musky smell hovering above me while he pinned me to the mat. I was hooked!

When i graduated college, my wrestling days were pretty much over (unfortunately grown men don't wrestle each other unless they are an Olympic athlete or pro wrestler).  This was also around the time that my sexuality was starting to come in to stark focus for me which meant wrestling was no longer a test of strength and wills, but something much more intimate. My sexuality was no longer an abstract idea i refused to acknowledge, it was who i was and still am. But it wasn't until many years later that i finally stumbled across a book that captured the essence of my sexual attractions and made me realize i wasn't alone.

I bought Toughskins from a vendor at my very first Knoxville Pridefest in 2015 when it was still being held at World's Fair Park. I bought it along with 2 other gay-centric books, but Toughskins is the only one i've read from start to finish. The book focuses on two main characters John and Bret, two twenty somethings from different backgrounds who met and ultimately connected in an indy-pro wrestling league.  The fictitious account follows them on their journey into one another's arms as they beat each other up inside and out of the ring along the way.  After fighting their attraction to one another for months, they eventually succumbed to what they knew all along: they were fighting a losing battle.

It should come as no mystery why i love this book.  It captures the spirit of what i felt in my younger days tangled up with other guys tussling on the floor, in the grass or occasionally on a mat.  These characters found what i had been looking for all these years but was unable to find:  someone who loved the intimacy of locking up with another man and the shear heat generated by the close physical contact.

Another reason i like this book so much is how much depth Masswa gives each character and the way he brings these two characters together. He makes their characters so real he makes you want to be them or at least meet them in person.  At several points reading this book i shed tears, but especially towards the end as John and Bret finally drop their guard and accept the love they shared between them. Masswa does an amazing job of making you empathize with the tension between them, the emotional turmoil they each face and the struggle to keep their sexuality a secret from their fellow wrestlers and themselves.  

Lastly and probably most importantly, Masswa describes their physical interactions in vivid detail both during their matches and during their time alone together.  For the written word this is no easy task describing complex wrestling holds and maneuvers, but he does so in way that you can almost picture the action in your head.

It's a beautifully told story and so vivid that it makes you think it's a true story, not a fictional one. Some of you might be wondering why then it took me 3 years to finish this book.  It wasn't because it's too long (only 253 pages) or because it wasn't a page turner (I never wanted to put it down!). Why it took me so long is because i didn't want the story to end. 

I could relate with each of the main characters in a way i haven't with many other characters.  I could live vicariously through them and empathize with their difficulties and desires.  This book gives me hope that there's a similar story playing out somewhere in the real world. Someone should be living the lives Masswa describes in the pages of this book even if that someone isn't me.
Toughskins is a great book i highly recommend to anyone gay or straight because it's a portrayal of homosexuality that isn't often portrayed elsewhere.  It's a portrayal i personally identify with and have almost my entire life.  It's the kind of gay i am and am proud to be!

Gay My Way

One thing i've always struggled with in my sexuality is the disbelief some have expressed about my sexuality. "Are you really gay?" some have asked me in the past. The answer is an unequivocal yes! While i might "act" like a straight guy (whatever the f*ck that means!), I LOVE guys especially the hotties. ;-)  Some of my friends reading this are probably blushing right now because they've been privy to some of my most outward attractions to certain guys. My love for hot guys has gotten to the point that i had to set up separate Instagram accounts to manage all of the hot guys i follow (i might have a problem?).

The point I'm trying to make is that no two homosexuals are the same just like no two heterosexuals are the same (well unless you're basic!).  Just because i don't act a certain way doesn't mean that i'm not really gay.  It just means that i express my sexuality in a different way than whatever stereotype some folks might have about the gay community.

For instance, i'm not really into drag shows or drag queens.  Nothing against them, just not my thing.  I'm also not a fashionista nor an avid shopper.  I don't have a ton of shoes and I don't watch Queer Eye.  I don't really go to gay bars or spend a lot of time on the "scene" although this last bit i'm hoping to be better about.  I'm attracted to guys, but otherwise there isn't much else that most people might consider "gay" about me.  That's just who i am and there ain't a good godd@mn thing you or i can do about it not that i'd want to.  I am who i am and i like who i am and being homosexual is only one of many traits that make me who i am.

So, in closing, please allow people to be themselves, not some caricature.  As long as being themselves doesn't infringe on your rights to do the same, then NO one should complain.  To me this is what Pride is all about: the freedom to be yourself.  That's something we should all celebrate!

A Sad Story

I read an article on recently that included stories from teachers about rumors that turned out to be true.  One of the stories was about an 8th grader who complained to his teacher that he had been poisoned by a cafeteria worker.  She didn't believe him, but as it turns out, he had been poisoned after all, not by a cafeteria employee, but by a fellow student.  When the student was asked why she did it, she said "Well, because he is gay."  This made me cry and i'm crying again as i write this.  I want to find the kid who was poisoned and hug him and tell him everything will be okay and that not everyone in this world is so cruel.  I hope he knows this and that someone is holding him and showing him he is loved.  That's what he deserves.  That's what we all deserve.

Some Inspiration

I didn't want to end this section on a sad note so here's one of my favorite Ted Talks about why homosexuality has continued to survive throughout the evolution of man.  It makes me even prouder to be who and what i am!

Rex (That's short for recommendations for all you squares!)


Verywell Health
If you're looking for a quality online medical resource, look no further than!  I've been on their e-mail list for the last couple of months and have found the information they provide to be very straightforward although a bit technical at times.  Even for the technical stuff though, they do a good job of explaining in laymen's terms and the articles are written by medical professionals so it's info you can trust.  My only complaint is that the newsletters can get kind of repetitive.

I'm not sure how i came across this resource (probably flipboard) and so far haven't explored outside the daily newsletter they send. Also i'm not saying they should replace regular trips to see your doc, but the info is useful and makes me more mindful of my health.  We all need that reminder at least once a day, right?

How Much Water Should You Drink
Not sure how much water you should actually be drinking?  Here's a good article about that.  Stay thirsty, my friends!

Not Getting Enough Sleep?
I'm constantly harping on my clients who don't get enough sleep.  This article explains why even one night of bad sleep can be bad for you.  Obviously we've all had trouble sleeping at one point or another, but the key is not making a habit of perpetually not sleeping enough.  Easier said than done for parents with newborns, but i guess do the best you can.


Want the goods on China?  These two articles will crack your nut.  Oh wait, that doesn't sound pleasant... AT ALL!  You should read this and this anyway.

In case you missed it!

As a blogger, i enjoy reading other blogs and have one in particular i'd like to recommend in honor of Pride Month and the book I recommended, Toughskins.  The blog is called Neverland and is an underground pro wrestling blog.  If you have a similar interest in wrestling as me, this is the blog for you although i'll warn you, it's just over the line of being NSFW.  Tread carefully and enjoy!

Subscribe Via E-mail!
Hey, if you like my blog (and i know you do!), please subscribe by e-mail to make sure you don't miss a single post.  Stay tuned for upcoming post including How Do You 'Roo Part Too: The Return and for an update on the recovery in Puerto Rico.  Thank you for reading!

Fortune Cookie Wisdom

"Be a first rate version of yourself, not a second rate version of someone else."

No comments: