Have you ever had an important appointment that you prepared for, got up early to make, or arranged your schedule to prioritize for only to have it changed by the other party at the last minute?
If you answered yes, don’t worry. You’re not alone. Life's filled with these agonizing types of daggers to our attachments and expectations and if we don’t learn how to internalize them, they can drive our emotions and behaviors into a very bad downward spiral. Personally, these items drove me into heroin addiction and suicidal ideation, and I know I’m not the only gay person who has been there.
Unfortunately, addiction and suicide ideation are all too common in the LGBT community. Therefore, I’ve made it my life’s mission to share my best gay self to help lift horrible statistics like this off our community's back. I hope it helps break the stigma associated with our lifestyle and to dissipate the fear of coming out that so many, including myself, clutched through the arduous journey of adolescence.
Coming out, for instance, doesn’t need to be feared. Our expectations don’t have to be true, unless that is, we don’t know how to navigate our expectations and attachments. But we must tune-up our own lives in order to show younger generations that they don’t have to fear coming out or being a part of our community. The best way to show this is modeling.
There’s nothing more surefire than going into a situation, expecting disappointment or failure. The good news, however, is that the converse also true. You can seriously lift your odds at success when you enter a situation with confidence. Inner life determines the outcome in many cases, but not all the time.
There’s very little that’s more painful and challenging than rejection and failure when trying to be our best self and expecting gold. Sometimes we do everything right and still experience grave disappointment or rejection. Even though this may have happened in our past, as it has for many a gay folk after coming out, it doesn’t have to be in our future.
Some of you may know that I just spent three years writing a memoir of addiction and coming out. Yesterday, the day before sending it to the press my ex-wives said that I couldn’t dedicate my memoir to my two sons and that I couldn’t even include my son’s names. My heart was blown to smithereens when I woke up to that message. Rejection, shame, disappointment, anger. All of it arose. The good news, however, is that I realized all of it arose because I wasn’t managing my expectations and attachments correctly.
Here’s the truth: No one can take what’s inside you baby, no one!
I, like many others, get confused because I think that having affirmations from the world around me validates the pride and self-worth that’s inside me. When this happens, I’m subject to grave disappointment should the external not perform as planned (attachment to expectation). The truth is, no matter what names I use and who I dedicate my book to on the outside the ultimate truth remains and that is that my two gorgeous sons are very much so the soul-bound heirs of this title. I expected something different and got rejected. But I can be just as satisfied either way because my truth and my pride and myself worth speak louder than the world around me sometimes reflects and if you have the guts to come out and embrace your best gay then I have confidence that you can do this too every day.
My Best Gay Self is a column by author, speaker, fitness coach and LGBTQ addiction and wellness advocate, Mark Turnipseed. He is also the Owner and CEO of Integrity Endurance, a network of personal trainers with the goal of fighting the opioid crisis through fitness. Visit www.markaturnipseed.com to learn more/contact or to find his book "My Suicide Race: Surviving the trauma of addiction, recovery and coming out."