Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Dealing with Depression...the beginning

I HATE being sick. I mean...don't get me wrong. I know most people hate being sick, but I am way beyond that. I whine, complain, gripe..just ask anyone. I am not a good patient at all. If I am sick I want to be cured immediatly...and if I am throwing up, 9 times out of 10 I will probably call 911. You think I am joking, but I wouldn't joke about things like this. My friend, dr. joe, is probably regretting the fact that he became my friend because of this very reason.

My junior year in college I got really sick, but it wasn't an ill contagious sick like the flu or strep like you would think. It was brought on by anxiety and nervousness. You see...when I get nervous and/or anxious it goes directly to my stomach and really all I want to do is lay there and be alone. That has happened to me a lot through the years because of the past struggle. It started happening in late middle school and went on through my late 20's. I always knew why I delt with depression, but I would never let anyone else in on the secret.

I have delt with depression and anxiety since I talked to my family about the possiblities of me being gay back in the 8th grade. I started taking antidepressants my junior year in college and by the time I came out to my ex-wife I was taking three. It was crazy and sad all at the same time.

During that week in college I couldn't eat or keep anything down for a week. I struggled a lot during that time. I went and spoke with a pastor, but never followed through to meet with him again. I spoke with the school counselor, but I never followed through to meet with her again either. That week was the only time in college that I almost came out to a friend of mine. I was sitting with Tara outside of Scarboraugh on the steps and she was talking to me about how she also delt with depression. I was so close to telling her my struggle, but I didn't.

After not eating or going to class for a week I called my dad to come pick me up. I told him that if he didn't come and bring me to the doctor then I was going to take a bus home. Three and a half hours later he was there.

I was brought to my family doctor the next day and that is when I got on my first antidepressent. It helped a little, but not to the degree it needed to because I still was holding everything inside.

It was good to be home..in a different place where I felt comfortable. Around family and friends that have been by my side for years.

Deedra scheduled that week to be 'outdoor fun day'. That is exactly what I needed to get my mind off of things and to just be outdoors. She planned a picnic with friends and even golfing at a driving range. Like I mentioned before...this is probably the first time she will hear of how much she helped me. That week in particular... She knew I needed support and she was there to support me even when she didn't know all of the details.

By the end of that week I was feeling much better. Wasn't so anxious about things or...maybe I hid it a little better underneath the internal rug. ;)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Thoughts on being a gay dad

I picked my son up today and headed over to the park close by his school. I bought him a kite for Easter and this is really the first time we are getting to fly it. Needless to say he wasn't that interested...

"daddy, i'm bored..."

So I put the kite up and we start walking around the creek that runs through the park. As we cross back and fourth walking over the sleepery rocks samuel is tightly holding my hand not wanting to fall. Usually I am pretty careful about these things, but not so much today.

Samuel slipped...and I slipped right in after him. He was neck deep in the gross green muck and I was kneeling in the same mess. I was grossed out..he was grossed out. It wasn't pretty.

I have mentioned before that I am pretty much black or white when it comes to my opinion of things (hence the name of my blog). But there are a few things that leave me thinking...and thinking...and thinking some more.

For example...

The death penalty - no clue where I stand
Stem cell research - again...no clue
At what point and how do I tell my son that his daddy is gay - I haven't gotten the slightest idea.

I try really hard to be a good dad.

I was talking to a good friend the other day and he asked me what I thought about being a dad. I told him that it was really hard to explain. I told him that I never thought I could love samuel as much as I do. Just being able to raise him...and him look up to me the way he does is unexplainable.

My biggest fear about being a gay dad is that when samuel does find out he will look at me different.

Each night (the nights I have samuel) we pray together, I lay him in bed kiss him good night and remind him every.single.time. that there is nothing he could ever do that would make me love him less. nothing.

My heavenly father has taught me to lead with love...sounds like a good place to start.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Just incase you were interested

I am copying my good friend Ryan and transfering these over to my blog as well. Fyi, I did update a few of them. In case you wanted to learn a little bit more about me...here you go...

1. I am the middle child and I am everything like a middle child.

2. I dream about driving a Jeep Wrangler. One of my best friends, deedra, drives a black one and it makes me jealous. But don't tell her that...she may start to rub it in. ; )

3. I absolutely love being a dad. My son's name is samuel and he is four.

4. I am a cancer survivor. After surgery and radiation I am almost 4 years cancer free.

5. I have two dogs. A toy fox terrier and a Brussels Griffon. Their names are roxie and gertie. They are always for sale incase you are interested.

6. Even though I wear glasses I hate doing it. But I hate wearing contacts even more....so here I am.

7. I have no tattos or piercings, but not because I do not want them.

8. I have never broken a bone, but my foot did get chipped by a random jet ski accident. Had to call my date from the hospital to see if she could drive to prom.

9. I absolutely love the beach and will chose it over snow skiing anyday.

10. I hate cold weather. I would be just fine if I went my entire life with weather over 70 degrees.

11. When I get nervous I do two things. I have to go to the bathroom A LOT and I bite my lower lip.

12. I have a BA in Communications from East Texas Baptist University.

13. I hate it when people overstate the obvious.

14. I celebrate my birthday for two weeks. The week before and the week after.

15. I love rollercoasters, but I can't ride on anything that spins like a merry-go-round. I will throw up.

16. I love Everclear. The band..not the beverage.

17. I do not get my haircut as much as I should.

18. I love to read a good book.

19. I am a horrible driver and I am the first to admit it. Just ask my friends.

20. I can't sing and I do not assume that I can.

21. I have six brothers and sisters. 1 real brother, 1 half sister, 1 half brother, 2 step brothers and 1 step sister. I love them all very much.

22. I wish I worked out more but I just do not have the discipline.

23. I love television. And my favorite shows of all time are The West Wing, Friends, E.R., Arrested Development, and Lost.

24. I love movies just as much as television...or maybe a little more. Favorite movies are Good Will Hunting, Dead Poets Society and A Few Good Men.

25. I am really really thinking about auditioning for a play again...it could be fun.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

"Pretty Remarkable"

I really don't even know where to begin with this blog entry. I am at a loss for words. And if you know me well enough..you know that doesn't happen often. Or ever really.

but today I am. Since tuesday I have gotten the nicest most encouraging emails from dear friends of mine that I haven't spoken to in years.

If you all do not mind, I would like to share a bit with you...a few excerpts from some of the emails. Like I mentioned before, I am a saver and this is the perfect place to save...

Throughout life I have gotten close to a lot of people. Of no fault of our own, for some reason we go our seperate ways...someone moves and you gradually lose touch. This was from an email of one of my closest friends in college. For a time we were inseperable... When I think back of the memories I had in college he is always included. I have always been thankful for his friendship and thankful for this email...

"well, i just want to be one of your friends from the past that says, you being gay doesn't change your essense, nor my opinion of it. and it sure as hell doesn't change the Father's opinion of your essense."

This impacted me so much when I read it. Because nothing makes me more happy than to know that being Gay and Loving Jesus are not mutually exclusive any longer. For such a long time that was the case for me. But my friend did sum it up when he said that "it sure as hell doesn't change the Father's opinion of your essense".

High School was really fun for me. I was in band and had a lot of really good friends in band. Some I wished I would have opened up to a long long time ago. Out of the group of friends I hung out with, many turned out to be gay. It meant a lot when one of those friends sent me this...

"So...I've been reading your blog. Thanks for sharing such a personal topic with everyone in such raw form."

I decided a long time ago that I was going to be open and honest with people from here on out. This is me...this is who I am.

In college I was involved in a lot of speech and theatre activities. One of the plays I was cast in was Stonewall Jackson's House. This play was controversial in the small southern baptist school that I attended because it dealt with a lot of issues (i.e. racism, etc). There were four of us that were cast for this play and it is amazing how close you become to the other cast members. My 'wife' in the play sent this...

"I read your blog, and I felt like at least, in some corner of the world, someone quit running and stood and were themselves. For that I am proud of you."

I can't even begin to describe to you how good it felt when I decided to stop running and just be myself. There was such a weight lifted off of my shoulders.

There is someone who has come back into my life recently that I am so thankful for. She is one of those friends that are in it for the long haul. Not sure why we fell out of touch, but over the past 6 months or so our friendship is getting back to the point it was in middle school and high school. She sent me this last night...

"i think its witty and sweet and i want to be one of the friends that you can rely on for support and love..... just know that i DO love you... having you back in my life has meant a lot to me!"

I will get into this a lot more later, but before I came out...that was my biggest fear. That all of my friends and family would abandon me and leave me stranded to pick up the pieces. It means so much to know that I can rely on so many people for their support and love.

Like I mentioned before...my friends are my family. I have always placed them in that capacity. Thank you for taking the time to reach out. It means so much.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Coming Out: Take 1

I have been going over and over again in my head about where to start with my story of coming out. This hasn't been easy. My guess is that my blog will start out being more general and as I blog more I will dive into specifics here and there.

So...when a friend is trying to tell me a story and they start off by saying "where do I begin?", my initial response is "At the beginning...".

So here goes.

I realized something was different right around the beginning of my 8th grade year in middle school. That year was hard...and scary.

I was confused back then...14 and the only thing anyone ever told me about being gay was how wrong it was and how God didn't like it...not even a little bit. I delt with this feeling for a couple of months while I was trying to figure it all out. Until I sat my mom down at the kitchen table and told her what was going on in my head.

To give you the short version of the steps that proceeded the next couple of weeks:
- My mom prayed.
- My mom called my grandmother.
- My grandmother prayed.
- I was taken to a counselor who told me that being gay was ok.
- I freaked out...told my mom that everything was okay.
- Nothing was ever said again about it.

Nothing at all was said about it again. Ever. My guess is that my mom/family just wanted it all to go away. And I pretended it did...until of course I came out several years later. I don't mention this all that much...and would be surprised if some of my closest friends even know about this.

One important thing did happen that summer after my 8th grade year that has impacted me to this day. One of my best friends, Deedra, invited me to church with her and to church camp that summer. That is the summer I got to know Jesus on a more personal level and I will always be thankful for that.

You will hear about Deedra a lot on this blog. I hope she doesn't mind... Because I have stories to tell about how she has supported me that she doesn't even know about.

It is amazing how far I have come in the past 17 years. Comparing myself to the person I am today and the person I was back then. I smile a lot more. Laugh a lot more. Amazing.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

One layer at a time...right?

I read a lot...well...I used to read a lot. Not so much in the past few weeks since I have been laid off from work. (I realize that makes no sense because I have all the time in the world, but bare with me folks...my routine is in shambles. Just ask the gym when was the last time I graced them with my presense...it's not pretty. ha)

Anyway -

I was sharing with some friends one day about how I felt when I came out 'officially' to my now ex-wife, family and friends (those will be blog entries soon...promise). That was really the first step I took in regards to finally deciding to embrace what God made me to be. Everytime I take a step into the direction of being happy with who I am that is like another layer getting peeled right off.

The best way I can describe it is a quote from one of the Chronicles of Narnia books. There is a section in the Voyage of the Dawn Treader where Eustace...a selfish, deceptive boy is turned into a dragon. Then Aslan, the Christ figure comes to save him... It reads like this....

"…I couldn't undress because I hadn't any clothes on when I suddenly thought that dragons are snaky sort of things and snakes can cast off their skins. Oh, of course, thought I, that's what the Lion means. So I started scratching myself and my scales began coming off all over the place. And then I scratched a little deeper and, instead of just scales coming off here and there, my whole skin started peeling off beautifully, like it does after an illness, or as if I were a banana. So I started to go down into the well for my bath. But just as I was going to put my feet into the water I looked down and saw that they were hard and rough and wrinkled and scaly just as they had been before. So I scratched and tore again and this underskin peeled off beautifully and out I stepped and left it lying beside the other one and went down to the well….

…the same thing happened again. And I thought to myself, oh dear, how ever many skins have I got to take off? So I scratched away for the third time… but as soon
as I looked at myself in the water I knew it had been no good.

Then the Lion said… 'You will have to let me undress you.' I was afraid of his claws, I can tell you, but I was pretty desperate now. So I just lay flat on my back and let him do it. The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I've ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off.

Then he caught hold of me—I didn't like that much for I was very tender underneath now that I'd no skin on—and threw me into the water. It smarted like anything but
only for a moment. After that it became perfectly delicious and as soon as I started swimming and splashing I found that… I'd turned into a boy again. After a bit the Lion took me out and dressed me."

That quote gets me everytime. Hard for me to express into words. But I wanted
to share this with you.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


My friends mean so much to me. I mean...my really close friends that would do anything for me. You know who you all are and I am so thankful. I put them on the same level as family...I have always been that way really. They are the ones who have gotten me through the hard times and are always there when times are good.

I get sad on occasion. It happens. I guess with how I was raised and how my life is changing it is a natural part of the process as I am working on figuring things out. But my friends are always a quick visit, gchat, text, email or phone call away.

I am a saver. Whether that be texts, emails, letters. I save things that impact me in any way. I was chatting with jamie several months back and out of no where this conversation started...

jamie: I love you Danael
me: aww. thank you jamie. I love you too. what was that for?
jamie: just 'cause.
jamie: because I know your heart
and I know you love Jesus, and I know you struggle inside
and I know it's going to be OK, because God knows your heart too

and I'm glad we can have a healthy debate about what we believe in and still be bff
or maybe it's just the wine talking.

I read this from time to time. It is very encouraging to me, because I know everything is going to be ok. With all of my heart I know that.

Thank you Erin, Jess, Jamie, Jim, Greg, and Deedra for being there when things were at an all time low. And thank you a head of time for knowing you will always be there...good and bad.

Thank you for always making me smile.

New Direction....it is time.

Like the title says, I am going into a new direction with this blog. You see...in the past I would blog a little...stop blogging...get hounded by friends to blog...then blog a little more. Then I confessed that I didn't blog because I was scared people would read it and think something, so I limited people's contact.

Not anymore.

The problem wasn't that I didn't want to blog. The problem was that I was afraid to blog...or better yet...afraid to blog about things because of what people didn't know about me.

Well..it is time. What ever it looks like I am putting it here for the world to read. It is who I am and I am how God made me. The Good the Bad and the Ugly.

You will read about my life here and how I am growing to love God and be a gay man at the same time. You will read about struggles. You will read about questions. I will share stories about my past, my family, issues and my faith.

Thank you for reading. I hope you will stick around.