Monday, June 26, 2006

I feel good!


The last few days have been quite exceptional for me. I have some how managed to find myself, and in the process become a person that is much better than the person that I was. I am very ashamed to say this, but for a long time I was ashamed of being gay. I wasn't ashamed because of all the normal reasons, like family pressure or religion (though those things played small role in it) I was ashamed because I felt like being gay made me less of a man. I base my self worth on the content of my character and my ability to be the guy that everybody can count on. But for some reason I felt like admitting that I was gay, was me saying that I wasn't strong enough to be these things to the people in my life. As irrational and ridiculous as it sounds, for a very long time I felt like being gay meant that I had less to offer the world.

While I love to surf. I do feel like I love working with kids even more. I have always wanted to be a camp director ever since the first time that I began working at summer camps 4 years ago! The instant that I connected with that first kid, and I made him feel like he was the coolest guy on the planet, I knew that this was what I wanted to do. I am not bragging, but people love me. There is just something about my personality that has always made me the life of the party, but in a non threatening. I have always found a way to walk the line of being a nerd and a cool kid, and I have always been able to stay original in a world obsessed with everybody being the same. However, I felt like being gay meant that I was going to have to give up this life because of how uncomfortable a lot of people are with gay guys working with teens. Plus I felt like being gay would effect my ability to be a positive role model and somebody that the kids could look up to (Its pretty silly isn't it?).

I wrote an email to Dan over at Dan in OKCITY , and I told him about this little problem that I was having with being gay, and a guy that works with teens. Its a weird situation, because even though I could never be attracted to younger guys, I would always be suspected of it because I am gay! I am not even attracted to guys my own age! Eddie is almost 3 years older than me, and so are most of my friends. This is due to the fact that I skipped a grade and I started school a year early. But now I am getting a little off the point. My point is that I was scared that I would have to give up something that I loved more than my surfboard because my sexuality was holding me back, YET AGAIN!

So finally, after a few days of waiting for Dan to get back to me, Dan and I began to correspond. I told him about the fact that I was scared of my situation and what people might think of me, and I asked him how he felt on the matter (because he works with kids also). All that I can say is that he was very passionate about his response. It definitely was something that I read more than once because I could related to a lot of what he was saying, and because I could tell that he really cared about his job as much as I do. Everytime that I got towards the end of the email, I started to cry. It was just so telling of the way that I felt and the way that I should feel. It took me a very long time to let his message sink in. But I finally got it. It doesn't matter if I desire men or women, what matters is the type of person that I am for the kids that I work for. I am a positive role model and a good friend to every one of my campers. It is my job to make sure that they all leave camp feeling better about themselves than they did when they showed up at camp, and I ALWAYS do that! This is what I was meant to do, and I should be proud that I am so good at doing it!

So during my final training week, I was still feeling a bit down on myself. I had read what Dan had written to me, and I knew that what he was saying was true, but I still wasn't ready to accept it for myself. I still felt like I could never be a proper role model to anybody now that I was a gay guy with a serious boyfriend (like somehow repressing the whole thing made me a better person!). Then the kids showed up on Saturday afternoon, and it was no longer about me. It was about all of these kids that had come to camp to have a good time, and I was here to show it to them! It's a lot easier for me to be happy for somebody else, than it is for me to be happy for myself. So I was instantly able to put a smile on my face and I spent the entire afternoon meeting and getting to know all of my campers. We played games, and ate food and then before lights out on the first night, I told one of my awesome campfire stories.

During our staff meeting, everybody could not stop talking about how I took charge and got all 50 kids to listen to me and have fun at the same time. I don't understand this at all, because they hired me to do a specific job, and now they are shocked that I am actually doing it!? But it was nice, because I am finally getting used to people giving me compliments and excepting them for what they are. On the second day (Sunday) I basically did pretty much of the same, only this time I was able to find the kids that needed the extra attention. Like that kid that can never manage to sit still, or the kid that non of the others seem to like, and by the end of the day they were in the middle of the group joking around and having fun with all of the other kids. Only in summer camp can friendships like these be formed!

Again, during the staff meeting, it was all about me and how awesome everybody thought that I was doing my job. By the end of the meeting they were changing my title and giving me a raise! It just that doing this job never actually feels like work. I am this kind of guy at heart. I have never actually taken a job as a summer camp counselor and expected to make a lot of money, but now I see myself making a living this way. And so do all of the higher ups at my camp.

This post is turning into an epic, so I am going to end it now. I would just like to thank everybody for sticking with me through all of these depressing posts. I haven't been the most exciting guy to read lately, but you guys still keep coming back and sending me very nice comments and emails. I wouldn't have the courage or the strength to be as happy as I am right now if it weren't for this blog and the people that read it. Thank you!

O yeah! That's me walking with a camper @ UCLA over by the student union.

25 comments:

Kiel said...

Wow! That's amazing. I a sure that I have typed this many times in my comment, but I think that you are one of the most awesome guys on the planet! You are soo honest about your feelings, and the things that you are troubled by. It is truly inspiring to me.

I am very happy that everything is working out for you, and you have been able to come to this epiphany about your life. It takes a very special person to work with kids, and I think that it is great that you are the kind guy that can do it. It's a very good quality in anybody, but in you, its just one in a long list of many! You are just spectacular.

WhiteflameNZ said...

You need to turn around in the photo!

I am glad that you have been able to talk through your problems and have seen a light at the end of the tunnel.
One thing that strikes me is that even through your writing you are a captivating person, I imagine that in person you would be more then just the life of the party.

Don’t get down about people not respecting you because of your sexuality. They will respect you more. Kids won’t care, they probably won’t even notice. One thing you can focus on is that one young gay guy in your camp, the one who is sitting at the end of the table, who is trying to fit in but isn’t quite sure why he doesn’t. Think of the role model you will be for him, allowing him to see that he is normal and can achieve great things despite not fitting into the 'social norms'. Then you will be a true hero.

I should have just sent an e-mail

Trevor said...

I am so jealous of you right now@! I want to be at camp SOOO BADLY! I freaking hate summer school! I am so happy that you are finally back to your old self though. I was getting really down on the fact that you weren't happy with yourself. If you could only see yourself how we (the campers, and society in general) see you, then you would understand that none of this matters.

I can't wait to see you in July!

Greg said...

Good for you! Its nice to hear it when a guy finally sees the light. You are just as normal and capable as any other person no matter who you prefer to sleep with. It's good that you understand that. Now you can go on with your life and not have this burden you anymore. You really are a kind a caring person, and people like that always have charmed lives.

Jerry said...

I completely understand where you are coming from! I hate that I feel this way, but I can't stop from feeling this way. I am very happy for you that you have been able to get passed this point, because I haven't been able to. You are a very special guy, and you help me to want to try harder with my life to be happy. You have meant soo much to me over the last few weeks, and your posts have all touched me a lot. But this one really got to me because I could see a lot of myself in you. I may not be the life of the party, but I can relate to kids well, and they like to hang out iwth me. I am a teacher in HS and I jsut finished my credentials and started teaching this year.

Thanks for sharing with all of us. I feel like you are what I hope to be one day, even though I am 5 years older than you! I hope that you stay on this track and you are able to see your dreams come true.

Raymond said...

This post put a huge smile on my face. I think that its great how you are dealing with your life. I am very happy for you that you are able to reach out to people, and they actually help you! You are a very blessed person, and I am sooo happy that I found your blog.

Marc said...

AMAZING! I am over the moon happy for you! I don't think that you should feel ashamed about the feelings that you had about your sexuality. Its a journey for all of us that usually ends with a faceplant and a punch in the face every once in a while! Because that reality is a bitch sometimes.

You frequwntly amaze me with your resilience and your desire to pick yourself up and keep on goin. Thanks for sharing this experience with us, it meant a lot to me

Brady said...

I honsetly do not feel like you are crazy for feeling the way that you do at all. You did your best to cope with the situation that you were given and when you were ready you accepted it.

I am also very impressed with you personality! Its a daunting thing to know that you are going to be the center of attention just because of the way you are. I like how you don't have a big head about it. But the other side of that coin is that I am sure that eveybody looks at your life and thinks that you have the perfect life. It must frutrate you when people tell you that they think that you are perfect. That's how I feel a lot of the time...

Terry said...

Great post, Eric! Like all of the other comments, I am happy and excited for you. Congratulations on your new position and the raise that came with it.

Now... I think I'm going to be the wet blanket. Not because I want to but because of the hyper-paranoid society in which we live.

You're great at what you are doing. You love working with kids and would never bring harm to any of them. The problem, however, is how society perceives gays around children and/or teens. *If* you were "out" in a camp setting, don't you think Mommy and Daddy would be screaming for your removal; after all, they would likely think that they don't want their kids exposed to the bad influence of a homosexual.

As a former Boy Scout Troop Coordinator, I felt forced to keep my sexual identy from everyone (Scouts, other Scouting leaders, parents, etc.). I also never let myself be alone with a Scout unless we were in the open where anyone and everyone could see us. I wouldn't have hurt or otherwise molested any of our boys; but, the danger of false allegations (if one is "out") and/or the possible backlash from the kids' parents could cause you to lose the job you so love.

I'm sure it's the same for Jerry (the HS teacher) and Dan in OKC (the camp counselor whom you mentioned); they must feel the same. Also, I'm willing to bet that they haven't came out to too many people at their respective jobs, if any.

I guess what I'm doing is playing the Devil's Advocate; being an open-gay in certain lines of work -- *in today's society* -- just might not be the best idea.

Now, with that said: I *must* be a masochist! I have a feeling I'll be bombarded by the other guys telling me that I've got my head up my ass. So, fire away guys. Please prove to me I'm wrong about this! I *really* want to be wrong!

Anonymous said...

Being gay, you can actually bring something else to these kids - you are in a unique position to help develop a safe and inclusive atmosphere for all the kids. As someone who has felt "on the outside," you can pick up on all the nuances that could make a young gay kid feel excluded... and all the nuances that could possibly make any other kid feel excluded.

I'm not saying you have to be out as a person who works with kids... but plenty of people are. I've had teachers and camp councillors in my life that were able to be out and provide a healthy role model for gay and straight kids alike.

Enjoy the rest of camp.

-spt

Brett said...

I am pretty excited that you are doing so well! I hope that you keep on feeling good and doing good. You are an amazing person. Thanks for inspiring me to do better also!

Eric said...

Once again I feel like I am misleading everybody! I am not saying that I am telling all the parents as they walk by that I am gay. I am just not hiding it.

Like when I was sitting in the lounge with a few of my co-workers last night and Eddie called. I didn't pretend like I was talking with a girl, but at the same time I didn't announce to everybody that I was talking with my boyfriend. It was just kind of implied. This whole coming out thing was more about coming out to myself. Then it was coming out to everybody that knows my name! Because that list is way to long to even think about!

I agree with you Terry, I we are not at the right time in society for me to flaunt my sexuality, but I am just not going to hide it. When Eddie comes over thisweekend after camp gets out, I am going to hug him and tell him how much I missed him like any other couple would do, and I am not going to do it in some dark corner where nobody an see me either!

But still no matter what i did on my own time, this is nobody's business but my own.

Terry said...

Damn, Eric! I didn't mean that!

Please! Welcome Eddie when he comes to see you!

I'm just saying that, in our present society, you..... *WE*..... canNOT come out to everyone in all aspects of our lives.

You've GOT to admit that THAT is true.

Anonymous said...

wow Terry si sooo cynical! I think that all that you need to do is relax and let life run its course. Don't come out to the world because that gets annoying! I get what you are trying to say though. I just think that if eric isn't that jaded at this point in his life. He should do everything that he thinks he should the way that he should. The arguements of older gays mean nothing in the quickly changing world.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why anybody would feel the need to be so negative. This is a positive post full of hope and newness I don't think that we need to rain on this guy's parade.

Josh said...

I am very excited for you and this new stage in your life! I am extatic that you are finally being able to accept everything that makes you wonderful! I think that we need to go and get some celebratory beers somewhere! haha!

I hope that camp stays wonderful fo ryou, and I know that you are going to continue to blow everybody away. Because that is litterally what you do. I am not sure what's going on with that debate above me... I am going to stay out of it. I just think that you need to make your own decisions and not worry about how other people feel about this whole situation.

Parker said...

You sound happy! And that's all that is important! I am very happy for you and I hope that things keep up for you, you deserve it!

Jason said...

I think that you are awesome! You deffinitely went through a dark tunnel, but te good news is that you came out the other side pretty well. I am proud of you and I think that you are a great guy.

Don't beat yourself up over those old feelings that you used to have either. The way that I felt about myself was way worse. You defintely have a positive view of yourself now. Your blog makes me a happier person, thanks for writing it.

Richard said...

That was the feel good posting of the week! Thanks for sharing man! I am totally in awe of you right now. I wish you luck at camp and at everything else that you wish to do. You are a great guy and you deserve everything that's coming to you.

Danny said...

Has anybody told you that they have given you a hug on BestGayBlogs?? That's soooo cool! I started reading your blog a few weeks ago, and I am constantly being amazed by your talent! You are such a neat guy and a great soul. I love how raw and sensitive all of your emotions are. I can tell that you are the kind of person that cares deeply about the world and the people in it, and that's a neat quality.

Keep up the blogging, it seems like you haven't had a lot of time for us lately. I hope that you can find more time to post as the summer goes on.

Anonymous said...

Blogging has reached a new low. I could have been better of being hit in the face with a brick than reading this crap

Anonymous said...

anyone got a brick?

James said...

Yeah I would definitely be the guy to throw the brick if only I knew where you were...

Nice post. It really sounds like things are coming together for you. I hope that the rest of your summer keeps up this way. You are the kind of person that deserves this kind of good luck!

antoine said...

juz keep goin Eric...
again, your such an inspiration to me...
would love to read more of great posts from you......

Enjoy life!!!

xoxoxo

whitewatcher said...

Bless you, Eric. I wish I could be more like you on this one.

Keep it up. You're doing great! :)