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My Journey
by Ed (EM68)

I am not too sure where to begin. I guess a little bit about me! I grew up in a medium sized town. I was the small skinny shy kid. I was born with a heart condition so I was never good at sports, and I was a bit slow. I had been going to the resource room because I had developmental issues. I was not dumb but had bad coordination. Kids would make fun of me sometimes. As I entered high school the teasing went away. However this made me very shy and unsure of myself. I had friends mostly guys, I always felt awkward around girls. Towards junior and senior of high school I hung out with a larger circle of friends including girls. Many of my guy friends would hook up and fool around with the girls, for me I was never interested. I always attributed it to being shy or being afraid of being rejected.

Also during this time, my family had a lot of problems. In high school my parents had problems paying bills. We would frequently have the phone turned off. As a result my brother and I would have to bike a quarter of a mile to a payphone to talk to friends. My dad had his own company that failed while I was in college. Because of this we lost our home. We wound up having to rent our next home. This made me so depressed. I was ashamed. The town I grew up in was a rich town but we were probably one of the poorest people there. I felt for a long time that I had so many problems no one would love me.

In college and a few years after school I dated but none of these relationships ever lasted too long. A couple of women left me because I did not sleep with them. I did not know that until it was too late. I had a couple of opportunities to have sex with women but I thought I would be a ‘gentleman’. Plus I had no desire to have sex with them. There was no spark. In addition, I felt a little awkward about having sex with someone. Part of it was because I had low self esteem and self confidence.

After I turned 21 I hung out with a few guys and I would go out in town to different bars and clubs. There I started to feel a bit of attraction towards the guys not the girls. As a result I never tried to hook up. I would just hang with my friend talk, get drunk and occasionally dance. During this time it never occurred to me that I might be gay. I am very masculine. I don’t have a lisp, a limp wrist or anything like that. I love sports. I would watch the Sox and Pats. I fell into the stereotype trap. I had no idea that masculine guys could be gay. Part of the problem was I did not know any gay people. I came from a small town there were no gay people there right?

Fast forward now to my late 30’s. I tried dating a few more times. I thought if I found the right woman I would fall in love, marry and everything would fall in place. Again nothing happened. As I failed at each attempt my self esteem lowered and my self loathing increased. What’s wrong with me? During this whole time I was sort of attracted to men, or at least they heightened my awareness to them, more so than any women ever did. Around this time it finally hit me that I was probably gay. Times had changed. Gays were more out on TV and the media. I was more aware of gays. But how could this be. Like I said before I was not a stereotypical gay. Again I am masculine; love sports and have no lisp.

For a long time I fought this. I said to myself I don’t want to be gay. Also around this time I met a guy at a place I worked who is the most openly flamboyant gay guy you would ever see. He said that when he came out his family basically disowned him. I was petrified. I could never live without my family. It all was bottling up inside of me.

Then last June it came to a head. I needed to talk to someone. I tried to call a gay helpline. The phone was disconnected. What the hell! Then I found EC. It was the start of my coming out. The longer I have been on EC the more comfortable I became that I am gay. I was now happy. For the first time in a long time I was truly happy. I joined a PFLAG group near me. For the first time I was face to face with people telling them that I am gay and my world did not end.

Soon after I fully accepted that I was gay things started to move quickly. I started to date a bit. I met one guy we dated for a couple of months. Unfortunately he is being transferred out of state. We decided to remain friends. I was crushed, but at least I know that I was capable of caring about someone and they would care for me back. During the past month I came out to my sister. Her reaction was great. All she cared about was that I was happy. Last week I came out to my parents. My dad said ‘so you are still my son’ and my mom was upset that I held this from them for such a long time, not the fact that I am gay. She understands that I was born this way. Now I joined a couple of gay meet up groups and gone to a gay club. I actually have a social life.

It’s still a work in progress and I don’t have all the answers. I know that from time to time I will make mistakes. But I am more optimistic about my future. I know I won’t be alone the rest of my life. That is the best result of all. Isn’t it?

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