Archive for October, 2013|Monthly archive page

Oz, Land of Enchanted Dreams

As you know by now, if you’ve read any of my recent posts, I took a vacation recently, spending two weeks in Australia. It was the first two-week vacation I’ve taken in my life, and the first as an adult that I did t work at least part of my time “away”. Not this time…I had three specific goals for this trip and working wasn’t in the mix.

Specifically, I wanted to go somewhere I’d never been, I needed to truly relax and decompress from a very stressful job, and most importantly, I wanted to spend quality time alone with my beloved. I’m proud to say I achieved all three of those goals.

Although it’s an over-used and tired expression, I can honestly say that this time away was, for me, a magical experience. I met some incredible people, ate some of the best food I’ve ever tasted, visited four separate beaches, saw a sunken Victorian-era battleship, witnessed spectacular sunrises and glorious sunsets, and was un-plugged to a degree I’ve never before allowed. Add to all of that, I got to spend two entire weeks in the company of my lovely Lulu.

Long distance relationships are challenging on so many levels. Day-to-day, simply making communication technology work is a deep frustration. But it’s the tech, not Lulu’s and my ability to communicate that is challenging. So having the opportunity to sit next to each other, look the other in the eye and speak our heart, without phone, laptop, Internet or headset coming between us was a hugely uplifting thing. Hearing the full range of tone and inflection in each other’s voice, seeing the whole spectrum of emotion and expression in the other’s eyes…a god-send!

Being with one another every hour of the day, adding the experience of physical proximity and all it’s nuance to the vast body of shared time we’ve accumulated via Skype, text and email over the last six months added a whole knew dimension to our understanding of each other. Seems so basic, but it was a joyful surprise to me.

All the many joys of this vacation amount to an enchanted dream come true for me. I’m blessed beyond measure in Lulu’s presence in my life and in the time we’ve shared together in Oz. And it’ll only get better from here!

Here are a few of my favorite pics from my magic journey:

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Baby Steps Out if the Closet

As I’ve mentioned many times and in many ways in my posts, I’ve got a Special Femme in my life. She’s my muse, my best friend, my co-conspirator in mischief, my sounding board, my purpose, my goal, my home and my heart’s desire. The love we share has absolutely transformed my life in the best possible way.

She has become critically important to me. And so important is her happiness, I am determined that her happiness will not be dashed by my careless action or negligent inaction.

That determination has led me, once again, to think, stew, mull over and obsess about just how and when to come out. You see, loving and honoring her fully is impossible if the part of my identity that is so closely associated with her is hidden or obscured from the other important people in my life.

So, when I began recounting my trip to Australia to friends and work colleagues over the last week, I had a moment of clarity: to really explain the nature of my trip, I needed to talk about Lulu. And in thinking about what to say, I simply could not say less than the truth: she’s my girlfriend and I went to Australia to spend time with her.

The first couple of times, talking to work colleagues, I admit that I was a little awkward in expressing it. But even those awkward chats were liberating, affirming and uplifting in the uniform acceptance and adulation I received. The key is a technique I learned from the sales guys I work with. It’s called a “presumptive sell”, where you assume that the person you’re talking to understands and acknowledges the premise you’re working from and agrees with your position. You presume their agreement and close the sale with little resistance.

In this context, by assuming everyone knows I’m gay and that talking about my girlfriend is natural, I make it easy for them and myself to focus the conversation on the vacation and not the astounding news that I’m not only gay but have an Aussie girlfriend.

Thus, without ever making any dramatic, overt declaration of “I’m gay”, I’ve come out to a dozen of my colleagues in a few conversations, to universal approbation and well wishes.

What’s more, the supportive reactions of the first few built my confidence to the point that I was able to acknowledge that the dread I’ve carried for so long is pointless and to let it go.

So today, during a staff appreciation lunch in which I shared my Oz trip photos, I came out to the people I work most closely with. Sharing pics of Lulu and our fun time together was freeing on so many levels. And their acknowledgement of our relationship, some noting how happy I am since she came into my life, was a type of validation that I didn’t even know I needed. What a relief!

In talking it over joyfully with Lulu afterward, I had another flash of insight. Though these coming out discussions are somewhat safe and innocuous, and their positive outcome empowering, I think I’ve gone about it this way on purpose, at at least subconsciously. Because as more and more arms-length people become aware, the positive pressure to come out to my family increases. It’s as if my subconscious mind recognizes that I need a firm hand in the back to propel me to the inflection point at which my family learn the truth from my lips intentionally, or from one of our mutual acquaintances by accident. Either way, it’s going to happen, and soon.

So…baby steps. First, one vey safe, remote friend. Then a few business acquaintances and colleagues. Then some closer work friends. Now my closest colleagues. Soon, the courage and need will coincide and I’ll tell my brothers and closest family.

What happens, happens. But the important thing is that I’m no longer afraid of the truth and I refuse to hide my bright, lovely Lulu under a bushel any longer.

Quick Hit Post: Uplifting Lunch

Still working on what to say about my trip Down Under. Until then, here’s a quick hit:

Had an incredibly uplifting, validating, fun lunch with a friend today. She’s someone I met through work and have really enjoyed working with. But she’s a genuine, compassionate, crazy-fun person with whom it’s impossible not to be friends…not work-friends, simply friends.

She and I wanted to catch up after my trip to Oz to visit Special Femme. But after the obligatory “oh my gosh, I had so much fun” non-share, she showed her true talent: interested cross-examination. I absolutely love that her interest in the person she’s with manifests in this way. She won’t let you get away with “oh, I’m fine” or “I had a great time”. She asks incisive questions, makes you think and leads you on a reprise of the journey you’ve taken, so she can see it through your eyes and understand it from her heart.

Our discussion covered some fairly weighty metaphysical topics, touched on scars I haven’t acknowledged, and affirmed my faith in condition-less friendship. Though I won’t regurgitate the discussion here, I can say that I walked out of that restaurant this afternoon with a lightness I never expected to come from having an in-real-life friend show genuine interest in my happiness with my chosen love, regardless if that form of love coincides with her own beliefs. That acceptance is a gift beyond price.

Thank you, my friend. Your gift of a supportive, positive, accepting ear means more than I think you’ll ever know. 🙂

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