Making other people comfortable with who you are is NOT your job.
Dear Little Rickey (or any other young gay man just finding his way),
I'm about to talk to you. Not in a bad way. Consider it more like your own mini-version of "Back To The Future." I know you don't know what that means, but just trust me, when you catch up to it you'll love that movie.
You see, I'm chatting with you right now to pass back some assurance, insights, and monkey-mind-quieting advice for you to use as you journey towards becoming the man you're going to be—a proud, scared, confused, strong, intuitive, fun-loving, gay man! Now, I know it's a bit early for us to talk about gender identity, sexuality, sexual orientation, and sex, so let's start at the beginning.
We've now lived 51 years, 95 days, 2 hours, 3 minutes, and 45 seconds since landing on earth in Loveland, Colorado. Crazy, isn't it? I know you think we're really old, but we're not. Good news is, we seem to have some pretty good genes in the family tree, so with any luck we'll be around for at least another 30 years. It looks like that thought brought some clarity to our big, brown, unfocused eyes. Don't worry; soon you'll be able to see clearly—with your eyes and thoughts.
Don't Let Sex Become a Hang Up:
So, here's your first piece of advice: sex and sexuality, which involves that little penis nub right below your belly button, is a beautiful thing. And yes, it's okay to touch yourself down there. Just make sure it doesn't become an obsession ... it could get in the way of safely driving a car.
Know That The World Is Changing (For The Better)
In a few years, the world is really going to begin to change about this thing called sexuality. Contrary to what some may think, it won't be because homosexuals (people who love people of the same sex) were behind the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Yes, he's going to be assassinated just a couple of months from the day we were born, but honestly, we gay people had nothing to do with it!
The shift I'm talking about is going to start with an event in New York City—a fabulous city we'll visit a lot—called the Stonewall Riots. Basically, the police are going to tell gay people they are bad and we're going to get ticked off and throw a fit.
From that event forward, gays and lesbians (girls who like girls) are going to fight to be treated equally and not be looked upon as bad people. In fact, in 2014, some people are even going to blame us gay men for the way Starbuck's lattes taste. We aren't responsible, but they do taste good, so we might as well take the credit for it. Plus, Starbucks is a really gay-friendly place to work.
You'll Be Different And That's Okay
But, enough about the historical stuff. I want to talk about our "stuff". Here's the deal: We're going to grow up being curious about our bodies, especially our penis, like most guys do. Then, we're going to start discovering our feelings, looking at other guys (and some girls), and we're going to discover that something just isn't adding up.
As much as we'd like to be like the rest of the guys, tongue twisting with the girls, it just isn't going to be what we're fond of. Don't get me wrong, kissing is awesome; however, when it comes to throat-diving with someone, you're going to suddenly find that you'd rather be doing it with Michael, rather than Mindy. Sure, you'll give it try with Theresa, Kim, Jennifer, Barbie (no, not the doll), and even a Shari, but it just won't work.
You'll try to hide what you're feeling, but it's not going to be who you really are. You'll know that, you just won't completely understand it for awhile, so be patient. I wish I could tell you to just go for it and say, "Bite me" (one of the slang phrases that will be popular as you grow older) to everyone who doesn't "get" you. But, I'm going to suggest that you stand your ground, trust yourself to be yourself and know that one day, you'll have a life better than you ever imagined possible.
Here's a few other things I want you know. (I don't want to give away too much because I want you to have a great life experience):
- You are who you are, plain and simple.
- Pretending sucks. Reality rocks.
- Making others comfortable with you is not your responsibility.
- You're going to love and be loved. You're also going to dislike and be disliked. Choose the first combo; it's much more fun.
- Don't worry about what you've done wrong. Just always learn from it.
- It is not selfish to take care of you first.
- You will have what you desire, provided you ask for it, and only ask for it if it's in your best interest.
- Make sure that what you expect from others, you are willing for them to expect from you.
- Try to learn that everything is happening for you, not to you (even the trip to the principal's office for an insane reason that Sarah made up).
- Speak when it makes a difference, and stay quiet when it makes sense.
Alright, I just wanted to come say hello before you dive into your journey outside of Mom's womb. Life is going to be fun, trust me. You're going to see the world, be challenged by it, and thrive. But, as the hip kids say these days, "It's all good."
Enjoy the journey, my little gay self. And, in the words of RuPaul (a fabulous drag queen), "If you don't love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?"