Tuesday, October 11, 2016

My Coming Out Story

Today is National Coming Out day, I have shared my coming out story on this blog before but it seemed appropriate to share it again on this special day.

Growing up I knew I liked boys more then girls but being a kid, boys often like boys and hate girls, so this felt "normal".

My first memory of actually liking a boy was when I was in the fourth grade. I can remember falling for this Spanish boy who use to call me his "little Bambino". I really didn't think anything of it as I was still of the age on not liking girls. I was raised in a world where a man married a woman. I had known only one gay man from my childhood who worked at a local liquor store. But I really didn't know or understand what "being gay" really meant. I remember one day a friend of mine told me that this man liked other men and looking back I think I always knew that and it might be the reason why I spent so much time there with him.

In the sixth grade I found myself playing on the gymnastic bars with the girls more then playing football with the boys. Also in sixth grade I had my first crush on a teacher... Mr. Anderson (he was my first male teacher). By the time I entered Junior High School I knew I was different, but I didn't allow myself to feel those feelings or at least express them. I remember looking a bit to long at the other guys in the changing room during P.E.

I was raised in the 70's and 80's and what I saw of "being gay" was very negative stereotypes, promiscuous, feminine, flamboyant and dying from AIDS. So I pushed my feelings deep down and got on with my life, hoping to forget about them... but of course I would never truly forget. I pretended to like girls and went on a few dates in high school but those girls always put me in the "friendzone" and I was fine with that. I remember people often asking me about a "girlfriend" and when I was going to get one, but my standard reply to that was "I'm focusing on schooling right now, but if someone came along..." I used that excuse all through high school and collage.

I fought with depression as most kids do during their teenage years, but mine had this extra layer of loneliness and confusion. I never considered suicide, or hurting myself. From the outside you would think I was just an extremely shy and socially awkward kid (and I was). I had very few friends and even among them I always felt like I was an outsider.

From age 16 on, all I've ever wanted was to be married and with kids. My goal then was to be married by 20 and have my first child by 25 and second by 27 and possibly a third by 30. I remember every year I would tell myself.. this is the year that I will find a girlfriend, I will fall in love and she will be the one. And every year I was disappointed with myself for not finding "the one". But the next year I would make the same goal.. to find the perfect woman for me and again I would fail. This was hard on me, I didn't know what was wrong with me, why I wasn't able to find that "perfect one". I would fall into some really deep depressions of loneliness. Of course I would put on a brave face for the public and my family but inside I was devastated and lost. I remember crying at night, praying to whatever god there was that I would find some one to love, to care for and to be with for the rest of my life.

My early 20's were tough, I was embarrassed by the fact that I had never had a girlfriend or been with a woman. I would lie or not bring up the topic when I was asked. I convinced myself that I was bi-sexual, I watched "straight" porn in my later teens and early 20's and enjoyed both sexes. But deep down I didn't know if I was pretending to like girls, because liking women is what I was suppose to be doing, that was "normal". It was a very confusing time.

By my mid 20's I was tired of hiding who I really was, honestly I was tired a long time ago but I finally was brave enough to admit it to myself. At 25 I graduated collage and was working in Hollywood in the Entertainment Industry. The entertainment industry tends to draw a large gay community so I was working with and being friends with several gay people, this was the first time I was interacting with other gay people since the gentleman at the liquor store when I was very young. I was starting to get very comfortable with the idea of being gay. But everyday was a struggle, do I finally come out and accept who I am but in turn live a life that will expose me to hatred and prejudices or stay in the closet and be what society sees as "normal"?

My life changed forever at age 27. I spent two years working in Hollywood I was on the verge of finally coming out but what really pushed me over the edge... well there are two things. First I saw the movie In and Out with Kevin Kline and it really hit home for me. If you've never seen it, it's about a man in his 40's so deep in the closet and he's about to get married until another man comes into his life and helps him understand who he really is. That was going to be, I knew that if I didn't come out that I would probably marry a woman and have kids, then later in life realize how unhappy I was and either divorce or cheat on my wife with a man. I didn't want that to happen.

The second factor was that I met someone online. Back in the day the internet was just starting up and I use to frequent yahoo chat rooms. They had a Star Trek one that I would visit often. I started up a conversation with this guy named Mat. We hit off, we would chat for hours and soon our online chats moved to phone chats. A few months into our friendship he came out to me and told me he was gay. By this time I already knew this and felt a very strong connection with him. I in turn told him that I was bi and really liked him. He asked if he could come down and visit me, he lived in Canada. I was overjoyed, this was the one, the person I have been waiting for all my entire life. There was just one problem.. I was still deep in the closet. Mat was coming down in a few weeks and was going to be staying with me for a few weeks. This was the time I had to come out, this finally pushed me to the point of no return.

I remember the fear that was building up. All I kept asking myself is what would my friends and family say. Would they accept me or reject me. What would my life be like if I lived the life of a gay man. So many questions but one thing was for certain, the door to my closet was starting to open.

One night talking to Mat I blurted out that I was gay. It was the first time I had ever said it out loud and to someone. Of course he was thrilled which actually gave me a boost of confidence. That was it, one person down.. the ball was rolling. The next day I was talking to my best girl friend at the time Renee, we were making plans to see a movie later that night. I remember telling her that I had some big news but I wanted to tell her in person. I remember getting off the phone and the panic setting in.. this was it.. there was no turning back now. I picked her up and the car ride to the theater was quiet, we chit chatted but I was slowly building up the nerve to tell her. We parked and were walking to the theater when she asked, "So what's this big news" we stopped and for an agonizing few seconds I looked up at her and took a deep breath and said "I'm gay".

It's only two little words but man what an impact they have. She stared at me for a moment and then a huge smile came across her face and she embraced me. I can't describe what I was feeling.. it was a combination of relief, panic, nausea, joy, love and acceptance all rolled into one. She said she was so happy for me. I told her about Mat and how I was in love and showed her a picture of him.

It hard to describe how I felt after coming out, it was a huge weight lifted off my chest. For the first time in my life I felt like I was me. So at the age of 27 on the verge of 28 I was finally out and ready to start living my life... btw the Mat thing didn't work out but I will always be very thankful for his part in my coming out story.

The next big hurdle was telling my family. That didn't happen until I was 31. I was out now for three years and been in several relationships. But of course now that I was out and living the gay lifestyle my family never asked me how my love life was going or if I meet any nice girls like they did for so many years. I couldn't take that next step and just tell them. I didn't want to come out close to a holiday because if things went bad I didn't want that holiday to be associated with it. Finally one day I was going to have lunch with my mom and like with Renee, I told her over the phone that I had some big news to tell her.

Again like with Renee, we didn't talk much in the car when I picked her up. We got to the restaurant, ordered food and sat down when my mom asked "So what is this big news?" By this time I had been out for years and have had several boyfriends so it wasn't as hard saying the words but in a way it was harder as this was my family. I chose my mom to come out to first as I figured she'd be the one that would be okay with it the most. So I said those "oh so hard to say two words" .. "I'm Gay". She asked if I was sure and that it's not a phase, she then went on saying it must be her fault as she babied me to much. I assured her that it wasn't a phase and that nurturing had nothing to do with it... I was born this way.

She asked if she could tell other family members like her sisters (my aunts) and mom (grand mother) and I told her she could but not to tell dad, that I wanted to tell dad personally. My brother already kind of knew so I didn't see the need to tell him personally. I remember getting a call from my brother not to long after I told my mom and he said.. "so you're gay... cool". And that was about it from him.. he treats me no differently. I told my mom I was going to tell dad the next weekend and my mom said something like.. "oh I don't know how he is going to take it". This actually scared me from telling him for another nine months.

Finally while visiting him one Sunday we were in the kitchen washing and drying dishes and I was agonizing over telling him for months now and it just came out. "Dad I'm Gay". I held my breath and waited for a sharp reply but nothing happened. He looked at me and said "Okay". I said "Okay?" He said "You're still my son and I love you no matter what." I was shocked and surprised. I had built up this fear of what would happen when I told him and he actually took it better then anyone else that I had told.

So at age 32 I was out of the closet to everyone and having fun. I have had some bad experience and prejudices but living in Southern California and in the Los Angeles area is probably one of the best places to live and be a gay man. It hasn't always been easy but I can honestly say, at age 46 I have never been as happy as I am now. The past 18 years have had there ups and down but I'm living the life that I was meant to live and loving every minute of it. 
 
So if your struggling with coming out... take it from me. It's the best decision you'll ever make.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - My Thoughts

I was super excited to see this movie as I love fantasy and have enjoyed Tim Burton films in the past. I went with friends Lauren and Caryn to the Sherman Oaks Arclight. One of the many things I love about the Arclight besides assigned seating are the props they usually have for big movies. They had several for this film and they were pretty fantastic, especially the lead shoes.

Anyways if you've never heard of this movie here's some background info. When his beloved grandfather leaves Jake clues to a mystery that spans different worlds and times, he finds a magical place known as Miss Peregrine's School for Peculiar Children. But the mystery and danger deepen as he gets to know the residents and learns about their special powers - and their terrifying enemies. Ultimately, Jake discovers that only his own special peculiarity can save his new friends. Based on the novel "Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children," written by Ransom Riggs.

I have not read the book so I only knew of the movie from what I saw in the trailers. My overall thoughts on this movie is that it was extremely fun and entertaining. It's moves at a fairly slow pace but that wasn't a bad thing. The interesting story unfolds in front of you and though this movie is 2 plus hours long it never dragged for me. The last third of this movie is where the action happens and it's pretty great. The special effects are pretty good, some of the CGI was a bit wonky but I'm very forgiving with that kind of stuff. The acting was good and though they didn't delve to deeply into the backstories of these characters we got enough to enjoy the story. Speaking of story I really enjoyed it, time travel type stuff can always get a little crazy but I think they did a pretty good job explaining everything. The overall look of the film was definitely Burton, I thought some of the music felt out of place but overall I loved the soundtrack. And I just want to note that Samuel L. Jackson (who's the bad guy) looked like he was having a blast in this role.

I'd give Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children a solid B+

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Dating Woes

I haven't really dated since I broke up with Harry back in January of 2011.. wow that's over five years ago. It's not from a lack of trying, I don't go out to bars so I rely heavily on online dating sites. I've joined several sites over the years but I'm just not getting that many responses and the few that I do they just aren't a good fit for me. I don't think I'm being too picky but after my long term relationship with Harry I do know what I want in a life partner and I'm not willing to compromise (on the big things at least). I've only gone out on one date in five years and it was okay but didn't lead to another one. I'm definitely not aggressive with it comes to dating. I did Tinder for a while and at the beginning I got about 20 matches right off the bat but come to find out that gay men don't like to start conversations and those that did we'd talk for a few days and then nothing.

I haven't had any friends try and set me up with their friends, which I find odd since my friends tell me what a great catch I would be, but maybe they are just being nice. But I do think I'm a pretty good guy, definitely sweet, loyal, hopeless romantic, loving, caring and likable. I'm short (only 5'3"), that might be an issue with some guys. I have a stocky built (and a bit overweight) but I'm working hard on fixing that. I think the lack of dating has more to do with my average looks as attraction is what first gets a person interested in you, especially on Tinder since it's all about looks and not personality.

I'm really at a lost of what to do next, I'm not good at flirting or picking up guys in bars or such, online isn't working for me and friends aren't setting me up. The only other places I can meet someone is at work (not many gays here) or at my gym and there are only a handful of gay men there and I don't think any of them are interested in me (in that way).

So I'm putting this out there for anyone who reads this.. if you yourself are interested in a date, drop me a line. Or if you want to set me up with a friend of yours I'm open to the idea. Here is what I am usually attracted to... I like masculine men, height, weight aren't a factor. I'm not really attracted to black, indian or asian men (but I am attracted to black and asian women.. go figure). They need to be geeky, maybe not a much as me but some geekiness is nice. Non smoker, no drugs (including pot).. and just be a nice guy...

Bottomline is that I'm just looking for someone to spend the rest of my life with (40+ years) is that to much to ask for.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Binge Watching Stranger Things

So I've heard good things about this new series on Netflix called Stranger Things. I was told it was a cross between E.T. and Goonies, felt very eighties. This peaked my interest so I decided to binge watch it over the weekend. Between reading the new Harry Potter book I watched the first five episodes on Saturday until 2am and then concluded the series on Sunday, by watching the final three episodes.

I LOVE THIS SERIES.

It defiantly had that eighties feel that everyone was talking about but man it was more horror and suspense then I was expecting. The acting was superb, the kids they got were amazing. Soon as I saw Dustin it was though I was looking in a mirror, curly hair, missing teeth.. that was me at that age.

Winona was exceptional in this role and probably my favorite of the cast. The special effect were excellent for a TV series. And the story was amazing, though sometime confusing. It sucked me in with episodes one and I couldn't stop watching. I love the way it concluded and everything was wrapped up.. well that was until the final few minutes.. and now I can't wait for season two. If you haven't seen Stranger Things, you're doing yourself a disfavor, watch it now.. just make sure you have the lights on.

More Harry Potter Adventures

I was super excited when I heard they were publishing the screenplay for the new Harry Potter stage play called Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I have avoided all spoilers so I don't know anything about this story other then it revolves around Harry's youngest done Albus. I planned to go to the midnight book release party with some friends but that soon fizzled out and I didn't want to go by myself so I opted to just go the next morning. So I got up early and headed to Barnes and Nobles, It was probably the easiest purchase I have ever had when it came to a Harry Potter novel.  I walked in, there were a ton of them all over the place and grabbed it, stood in line for five minutes and was back in my car in no time.

I can't wait to escape back into that magical world....

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Star Trek Beyond - My Quick Review

Headed to Arclight Sherman Oaks with my friend Patty to see Star Trek Beyond. Now if you know me you know I'm a huge Star Trek fan and I have really enjoyed the re-boot movies, so I was looking forward to this movie. The music choice for the first trailer soured some folks but I loved the visuals and was really for a fun ride and I have to say it did not disappoint.

The action sequences were amazing, the story was good and I loved how they teamed up all the characters with those you wouldn't expect. I think every character got a shining moment and their fair amount of screen time. I loved the music and the special effects were amazing. 

Being a gay man I liked how they showed us Sulu being gay without bashing us over the head. It was a quick scene on him greeting his husband and daughter. Now words, no strange looks.. it simple was. I loved the main guest character Jaylah. It was refereshing that she wasn't a love interested to anyone, she was hold her own and kick some ass. I can't say anything bad about this movie. It was everything I was hoping for and more. I give Star Trek Beyond a solid A

Sunday, July 24, 2016

San Diego Comic Con - Day 4

I woke up this morning with green make up still around my eyes, and green in the cracks of my nails but after a good scrubbing in the shower I was green free. I had planned to cosplay as my Jedi Twi'lek for Friday, Saturday and Sunday but it's so much work getting all the make up on and I didn't want to inconvenience Shannon another morning so I opted to no cosplay today.

I actually like to take a day and not cosplay and instead enjoy roaming the halls and taking pictures of all of the other amazing cosplayers, because when you are cosplaying it's difficult to take pictures. So today I hung out with friends, did a bit of shopping and took alot of pictures. It was a nice way to end this year's comic con experience.

Before heading home we had our traditional final dinner at The Strip Club, this year there were less people but it was still alot of fun.

Usually after San Diego Comic Con I tell myself that I won't be going back next years.. I need a year off but after going 12 years this is the first time that I am actually looking forward to SDCC 2017. This was a great con, my Jedi cosplay was a success, I got to hang out with my amazing friends. And my favorite moment from the past five days.. was my best friend asking his girl friend to marry him and she said yes.

San Diego Comic Con 2016 was FANTASTIC... bring on 2017.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

San Diego Comic Con - Day 3

Today I am cosplaying as my Jedi Twi'lek, Jedi Master Tal Komad (which means Champion of Chivalry) again. I put a lot of work into this cosplay and wanted to wear it was much as possible. Luckily for me my awesome friend Shannon was willing to do my make up again. Since we did all of this yesterday I figured it would take half the time to get ready.. well I was wrong. Even though we knew exactly what to do it still took us about three hours to get ready. And it looked just as amazing as it did yesterday.

This time around I went with one green lightsaber as walking around and holding two lightsabers was difficult. This time around my friends were cosplaying as Game of Thrones (which I don't watch or cosplay as) I'd hang out with various friends here and there but I spent alot of time on my own taking pictures and just roaming the halls. It's not how I like to do cons but sometimes you just wind up alone. I did hook up with friends for lunch before heading over to the big Game of Thrones meet up and group picture.

Though I wasn't taking part in this shoot (being a Jedi) I had to be there as something big was going to happen. My best bud Chris was going to ask his girlfriend Hayley to marry him. They had met last year during con, both in GOT cosplay so it seemed appropriate for him to propose here. A handful of friends knew he was doing this so we all showed up and toward the end of the photo shoot he got down on my knee and asked for Hayley's hand in marriage. It was pretty fantastic. Of course she said yes and everyone went crazy. This was definitely a highlight of this con.

It was a long day so once the con floor was closed I headed back to the hotel to clean up and crash. This time around it took about an hour to get all the green off of me as I wanted to make sure I got it all. For my first attempt at making my own costume and wearing make up and a head piece I think my little Jedi Twi'lek was a big success. A HUGE thank you to Shannon for not only helping with my make up both days, by getting up at 7am and occupying a large chunk of your morning but also for helping me with the sewing of my jedi robes.


Friday, July 22, 2016

San Diego Comic Con - Day 2.5

Shannon and I finally made it down to the sales floor, she had to go help her husband at his booth (he works in comic books) So I met up with some friends who were also cosplaying Star Wars today. My best bud Chris was cosplaying as Grand Admiral Thrawn, Haley was Mara Jade, Hayden was a Jedi and my buddy Steven was Kylo Ren. It's always fun when you are able to group cosplay. You tend to have more pictures taken of you.

This was my first cosplay where I was in full make up and head piece. I spent most of the day worried that my make up was coming off but at the end of the day I have to say everything still looked pretty good, other then my neck area but overall I was very happy with the durability of this make up.

In the evening we headed over to an open area near the convention center so we could take some awesome lightsaber photos... it was alot of fun. And again with this many awesome cosplayers we drew a crowd. We hung out and took pictures for about an hour.

I debated on sleeping in my make up, because I was going to cosplay this same character again tomorrow but once back in my hotel room I couldn't wait to take it off. And though it took three hours to put it on, it only took about a half hour and lots of rubbing alcohol to take it off. By the end of the night I still had a green tinge to my skin but I didn't care as I knew I'd be doing this all over again tomorrow.

San Diego Comic Con - Day 2.0

Day 2 of San Diego Comic Con started early.. like 6:30am early. While my brother slept I had to get up and start the process of becoming a Jedi Twi-lek. First thing I did was shave hands and lower arm as we found out that the make up doesn't stick to well to hair as it does to skin. After shaving my arms I spent the next half hour trying to get my contacts in. I've only worn them a handful of times and it's still a struggle to get them in. I can usually get one in fairly quickly but the second one can take a half hour or so.

It's now a little after 7am and Shannon arrived at my hotel room to help put on my make up. She unloaded everything and prepped her air brush machine. We started by painting my finger nails green. We then laid down layer after layer of make up on my hands and forearms, it was looking good. We then moved on to the face, she did three main layers and a few touch ups before applying the black tattoo markings over my face. Once that was all done she touched up my Lekku as the paint didn't like sticking to you and required some touching up. We tried a few different things around my eyes but wound up doing eye liner.

As I was putting spirit gum on the inside of my Lekku and my forehead a drop of it fell onto my tunic, I went to grab some mineral oil as that's what takes the stickiness off of your hands but Shannon quickly stopped me as it would have caused an even bigger issue. I managed to clean up the spot and honestly if you didn't know it was there you wouldn't really see it.

I was almost ready to leave when Shannon did some last minute touch up on my face when she accidentally dropped a spot of green paint right on the front of my tunic... my heart dropped. There was no way of cleaning this off quickly. She quickly went to wipe it up, as she did so she grabbed my right arm and quickly realized she had paint on her hand which was now on my right sleeve. There really wasn't much we could do but laugh. Luckily I was wearing a robe so the paint on the sleeve would be an issue.. but what to do about the paint on the front of my tunic. Somehow Shannon worked her magic and managed to layer and rearrange my tunic so the paint was hidden.

That's it.. I wasn't going to play around with anything else. I was ready to hit the floor.. what I thought was going to be a few hours process actually turned into a three hour process but I have to say the end product was pretty fantastic. Shannon did an amazing job on my make up and I'm ready to show it off.

Introducing Jedi Master Tal Komad!!