There has been many a time when I think, “God people just don’t get me…” It wasn’t that long ago someone said to me “And I just thought you were weird.”
Over time I’ve learned to embrace these kinds of descriptions. Being a freak is actually “in”, with Lady Gaga as the newly-minted spokesperson for the freaks, the outsiders, and pretty much anyone who feels disenfranchised.
My guess is that there are a lot of people who feel they are always on the outside looking in. Lady Gaga has managed to harness a world-wide collective feeling of being shut out and disenfranchised.
Suddenly it’s cool to celebrate your inner-freak. It looks like I was ahead of the curve on that one. Now I take it as a complement.
In the 80s, after having gone public in Winnipeg, I was definitely on the outside. But I was OK with it. The gay community was very conservative and very strict in its social stratification - the A-list were at the top and the drag queens were at the bottom.
Since I had a relationship with a couple, I was pretty much labeled trash in the community, and I was only 18.
Up until my involuntary involvement in this epidemic, I had been an incredibly shy guy who couldn’t speak in front of people, no matter how small the group.
How many times are there where we want to explore our inner desires and are afraid we’re going to be judged? Over-coming public speaking has been a huge confidence builder and helped me break out of my shyness.
I think these early days built in a sense of rebellion. Winnipeg was so small; everyone went to the same bar. When a couple broke up, it was like musical chairs with a new and sudden opening.
Being public back then was me giving my middle finger to the world. The preachers who said we “made our beds” so who cares if we die, the dental assistant who gave her husband my contact info after she learned my status after cleaning my teeth; even my mother who was afraid that anyone would find out; the people who didn’t want me playing with their kids, or at their dinner parties.
Truth be told that’s how it all started, it was a big F#$K YOU to the world.
Rebellion is now turning to acceptance. We are all unique wonderful creatures who internalize judgment: the ultimate barrier to self-expression and following your true desires.
Set that judgment free. I know it can be hard, but let it go. Who do you really want to be? What do you want 2011 to look like?
I’d like to know your hopes, dreams and desires for the year to come.
Each breath is a gift. Use it wisely.