When we experience growth we sometimes become unrecognizable to ourselves.
The music thumped as hesitant shadows scraped the dance floor with stiffened movements and wild attire. Black lights spotlighted the lint of many minds loose and intoxicated. I stood with a drink half filled with ice leaning against a crowded bar where frustrated patrons waved aimlessly for the attention of a bartender who thought he was the hottest attraction in the bar. He had much competition because many were already dancing with their own reflections in a steamed filled distorted mirror. And I remember having my own confidence as I saw an image of who I use to be just years before. Back then I would’ve been standing there with a different purpose. I would’ve had my arms folded and judged everyone around me not because I thought I was better but because I was catapulted into a new world; a world I hid for so long not to be a part of.
There were many aspects of the gay world I didn’t understand because I simply didn’t want to understand them. I saw a lifestyle that was different than what I was exposed to and a lifestyle that didn’t fit the aspirations stenciled into my ambition. I was living as a photograph airbrushed and distorted to fit the vision of what those around me wanted me to be. But looking back at those self portraits I was not smiling because something within me felt incomplete and with that incompleteness came a lot of insecurity. And if I wasn’t secure with who I was how could I stand proudly behind a definition I had yet to explore?
It was during that time that I met many guys who misjudged me or didn’t have the patience for me to find that confidence I needed to stand with pride in the gay community. So I shut myself off, kept quiet and judged those I saw around me. I was a portrait of a man not willing to open up and accept his own sexuality. And there was no acceptance until I allowed my heart to lead the way. So as I stood there with the music thumping and blowing the dust of this memory of who I was, I begin to bob my head and appreciate my surroundings. I stood there with a confidence and a new openness that made those same guys who shied away from me walk up and want to get to know me for it was my growth within myself that made me more than just a part of the gay community. It made me one of the definitions of a community that just years ago I didn’t understand.
Life is the exploration of our hearts.