Dear Blog Readers,
It is another hot sticky day in Toronto. I hope that you are finding ways to stay cool, hydrated, and comfortable. Today our writer, Fred, examines sexual orientation. How do our identities change over the course of our life? What becomes important and what fades into the background becoming integrated into who we are while no longer being the centre of our identity? As a child, my identity was wrapped up in wanting to be an activist. That grew into a feminist activist. Later, being Queer became the focus of my identity and my community. Being a teacher took over in my 20s. In my 30s my identity became immeshed with Eating Disorders. And now, in my 40s, I am focused on being an advocate. Through all of those shifting explorations of self, one thing remained the same: love. Love for my family, passion in my beliefs, love for my students, and love for myself. What do you do when love feels scary? A willingness to be vulnerable and resilient can open doors to all forms of relationships and deepen ones we already have. Here Fred looks at his identity, his toolbox he learned through recovery, and his willingness to jump into vulnerability with courage and self-compassion.
Remember to be kind to yourself, and to nourish your body, mind, and spirit.
Your blog moderator,
** Please submit your art, writing, creativity, and vulnerability to Kmccarthy@sheenasplace.org or email me for blog ideas and inspiration
“I Like You” by Fred
Today, I want to flag identity concerns. While I don’t have an eating disorder anymore, I am brave enough to say: “I’m soft”. I know what I want, yet I am scared of humiliation and rejection. Gender, race, sexual orientation – these are flags I am bringing to the fore.
I love guys. It is so hard navigating this homosexuality. For me, my way of being is not around / about race and gender anymore. Here I am flagging boy problems.
The powerful language of “flag” marks and names the difficult place I’m in today. If writing this out brings in to focus less gender and race, and more sexuality, I can break away through ED talk.
One thing I learnt through eating disorder discourse is the bravery to let go and surrender to lovers, be they loved ones like parents, siblings, or boyfriends. Being brave, for me, entails communication and vulnerability – that vulnerable edge or assertiveness in relationships. Oftentimes, people who care about each other want different things. And communication lets it out, even though the grind of ‘not knowing’ or ‘the unknown’ is painful. I desperately need love.
Second, ED discourse has shown me bravado in face of adversity and fear, and how to be convivial and celebrate. I love my guys. It’s a painful position, being gay. Across all races, ethnicities, and backgrounds, a certain mixture makes who people are today. I think the guys I love are apes. So, what I am dealing with today is primal.
In short, I am compelled to accentuate eating disorder related symptoms’ roles in who I am becoming today. I don’t have an eating disorder anymore. I want to say that I flourish because I am able and interested in eating disorder culture, even though it is painful and poignant. I move on by telling guys I like, “I like you”, and I hope this seed, planted, will open up a space for star seeds to flourish altogether.