The Ides of March approach and I, like Julius Caesar of old, am facing this Thursday with more than a little trepidation. No, I don’t think a Roman mob is going to stab me in the senate (although I have become quite the thorn in my state senator’s side following the approval of Utah’s new abstinence education bill, but anyway…). The problem, you see, is that the Ides of March is my birthday.
Now, up until this year, I have loved celebrating my birthday. I love surrounding myself with good friends and food and, hey, who doesn’t like a good birthday present? But this year is different; I am turning 27.
Now, I realize 27 is a rather arbitrary age to be afraid of; it’s not one of the big, benchmark ages like 30, 40, 50, etc., but, as I just mentioned, it terrifies me. Allow me to explain.
When I began to realize I was gay I did everything in my power to deny my feelings.
Who cares if I thought my teenage best friend was gorgeous – so did everyone else, right? It’s normal! Who cares if the first time I showered in the high school locker room I was surrounded by teenage muscle jocks? As long as I closed my eyes and kept the water freezing cold I couldn’t get too excited, right? That’s normal, right? Or what about at BYU when I would work out and have to check out a jock strap from the men’s locker room (because heaven forbid you work out in your garments), and I would think about all of the other guys who had worn the exact same jock (speaking of cold showers…), that’s normal, right? It’s nothing! Right?
Well, denial is a powerful tool and it worked its wiles on me for a long time – more than a dozen years in fact. That is until I realized something important. The feelings I was having were normal for me. I didn’t force myself to be attracted to whomever I was attracted to – it just happened. When I came to that realization I changed inside. Not in the way I thought I had always wanted, but in a more authentic, true-to-myself way. I began to accept who I was. Who I am.
I came to this startling conclusion when I was about 24 years old. Now, what on Earth does any of this have to do with me turning 27? Well, 27 was the deadline I gave myself to come out to the world around me and, more importantly, come into my whole self.
Why 27? As I have previously mentioned in other posts I have a European mother. In Europe you don’t get married too young. You travel the world, get an education, and make your mistakes while you’re single. My mom was able to do all of that in her early twenties and she married my father a month after her 27th birthday. Twenty-seven has always been my family’s unspoken deadline for me to get married and, if you couple that benchmark with the fact that I have indeed traveled the world, earned a couple of degrees, and made some major mistakes, I don’t have a leg to stand on to further delay “settling down and popping out a few Mormon kids.”
So, happy birthday to me this week and happy year of finding myself and destroying my parents’ hopes and dreams for me. But hey, I never made it to medical school – what’s one more disappointment, right? Wish me luck.
All my love,
PS - This week’s videos include one for pure kicks and giggles (I hope not to offend anyone) and another for inspiration. Enjoy!