I had a strange revelation the other day about just how disconnected with Self I had been for the better part of three decades. I believe it started when I was eight, in the span of nine months my two eldest sisters, who were raising me since my mother’s death when I was four, moved away to start their own lives away from the family nest, and my father re-married a woman who meant well but had no children of her own. From that point forward it was more about performing or being what others wanted me to be than to express who I really was on the inside.
With this lack of identification with my true Self, I learned to be who I thought others wanted and needed me to be: who to love, who to marry, what to do with my life, and how to communicate (or not as the case was). Now don’t get me wrong, had I not squelched my sexuality through my teenage years and into my twenties, I would never have had the joy of being a father and the incredible joy and pleasure that has blessed me with. But even after coming out, it was difficult for me to answer when someone would ask, “so what do you like, what do you get into?” My answer was always the same, “I don’t know, what do you like?” It was always identifying my pleasure by someone else’s standards. Now that I have been sober a while, it is really refreshing to be experimenting with what I do like, and knowing that it is perfectly ok, no matter what that is.
Being free to be myself, express myself and love myself just the way I am is a new concept, but like a new pair of dress shoes, they’re starting to feel pretty good now that I’ve broken them in a little. They do at times still have that new feel if I ‘wear them too long’, or if I allow my people-pleasing nature to trump my true feelings. But I certainly have no intention of turning in these new shoes for the ones I used to wear that didn’t fit, weren’t the right style, and were only pleasing to the eye of others.
Today I am grateful I am willing to identify who I am, what I like, and love myself for expressing it.