The Endless Cycle Of Coming Out

I first came out to my roommate a week after he moved into the house where I was renting in San Francisco. I was completely nervous and I repeated myself a few times in order for him to hear my words clearly. He responded by telling me that he would take it upon himself to expose me to the gay world and to show me all that it had to offer.
 
The second person that I came out to was my landlord. She was an elderly Asian lady who instantly asked me all these personal questions to determine if I was telling the truth or not. And it wasn’t until she noticed my change in demeanor and my uncomfortableness that she shifted focus and told me that as long as I didn’t bring another guy to sleep over, that everything would be fine.
 
The third and fourth individuals that I came out to remain a blur.

And as much as I always tried to stay calm before every “coming-out” conversation, an overwhelming feeling of uneasiness and worry would always take over me and I would be a nervous and incoherent mess as I uttered the words “I am gay” to whoever was in my presence that day.
 
Regardless, I soon had a small support system of friends who were accepting of my identity as a gay man. And with their support, I gained the confidence to come out to my family and finally be open about that part of my life that I had been hiding from them for years.
 
And as much as I tried to plan these coming out moments, the next two were spontaneous.
 
The day I came out to my older brother, I was an emotional wreck. My ex-boyfriend at the time had called our relationship off and I was unable to hide my crying from anyone. So, when I uttered the words that I was gay, I cried even more. My brother, in keeping with his humorous self, told me that he already knew about me being gay and to be quiet because we were about to walk into a public school to see my little brother perform in a play for the first time. I guess, during that moment, I was just grateful that he had invested some time into getting to know me that I just had to laugh and thank him for hearing me out.
 
A few days later, my little brother made an ignorant comment about gay people and I responded by taking him outside the house and then coming out to him. He and I both cried and then he hugged me. He then followed this by telling me that he accepted me for me and then as if nothing had happened, we went back inside and proceeded with our lives. It wasn’t until years later that he disclosed to me that I had made him feel like crap for thinking negatively about gay people, but that I was the reason his view of gay men had shifted completely.
 
Yet as much as I was being accepted for being gay by my friends and brothers, I knew that my parents would have a harder time dealing with the outcome of me coming out to them.
 
And a few months later, the stage was set for me to speak the words that I was truly convinced they would not accept.
 
It was a late night. My mom, dad, and I were finally in a room together and for some unexplained reason, I opted for this night to be the perfect opportunity for me to come out to them. But first, I had to complete a family tree assignment for one of my classes. So, I asked them questions to get information about our family and to my surprise, they were genuinely happy that someone was taking an interest in getting to know their family.
 
And as the night went on, and no mention of a family member coming out as gay was disclosed, I began to doubt whether I should follow through with my plan. For some reason, the thought of being the only gay member in the family made me feel so alone and I didn’t want to burden my family with my problems.
 
And just as I was about to forget about my plan to come out, my aunt’s “lover” was mentioned.
 
And I don’t know what saddened me the most, the fact that my parents were laughing at her for liking someone of the same gender, them not wanting me to write her relationship with this person on my family tree, or that they were openly mocking a family member without realizing the impact that it was having on me.
 
I didn’t say anything. I couldn’t say anything.
 
My face turned red and I could feel my heart racing fast. I looked down on the ground. Hoping that somehow, they were going to apologize and say that their previous comments really didn’t mean anything. But when I looked up at them, they were smiling to themselves and then at me.
 
The next couple of moments were a blur.
 
But I can remember coming out to my parents and looking away because I feared their reaction. I can remember both of them crying. I can remember my mother walking up to me and hugging me for the first time in years. And how much it meant to me. I can remember crying and crying. And my parents letting me cry until I was ready to talk.
 
I wish I could have stayed in that moment for a bit longer.
 
After I was done crying, my parents and I were ready to have a conversation.
 
My dad told me that I could have told him anything besides the fact that I was gay and he would have been fine. He then talked about how he feared for my safety because gay people end up murdered when people find out about their lifestyle. And finally, he compared me to a “prostitute” because, in his mind, they flaunt their sexuality around for others to see just like all gay men do.
 
My mother held my hand. And after telling her that I was scared to come out because she laughed at my aunt for being in a relationship with a woman, she apologized and told me that because I was her son, she would always love me no matter what I did.
 
In the end, they both agreed that I shouldn’t tell anyone about me being gay and especially not other family members because they feared how they would react to my coming out. They then advised me that the best course of actions was to keep things to myself and that my lifestyle choices were not appropriate topics to discuss during family gatherings.  
 
I didn’t say a word. I thought about what they said. And then, I went back to the room and fell asleep.
 
After that encounter, I feared going through the process of coming out again. And when my aunts or uncles would ask me questions regarding when I was going to get a girlfriend and about marriage, I would quickly change subjects. Similar comments were said over and over again. Suggesting to go to the strip club, asking to rate women as they passed by, discussing the women they slept with, objectifying women, these comments from family members didn’t stop.
 
And I slowly withdrew. Getting angry at them for continuing to push their sexuality onto me for years. And then getting angry at myself for not speaking out. For not saying what was on my mind because I feared their reaction. But by then, I had enough. And I was committed to not lie to myself any longer.
 
So, I came out to a few more family members. Either directly or indirectly. And to my co-workers. And to my peers at school. And to their partners and their family. And with each “coming out” conversation, the easier it became for me to deliver those words confidently.
 
But it hasn’t been easy. And not everyone in my life knows that I am gay. But I have gathered enough support that when a family member brings up questions regarding my sexuality, others come to my defense and help guide the discussion.
 
And I smile. Knowing how far I have come. And I can feel the love. And I guess, that’s all I can ever asked for.

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The Endless Cycle Of Overthinking

I can’t seem to make the right decisions. Well…at least not as fast I want to make them
 
Seriously.
I can walk into a convenience store with the intent of making a purchase, spend thirty minutes comparing two different products, place each of them back on the counter, and then walk out of the store without buying anything because I couldn’t make a final decision.
 
And it’s not like I haven’t tried to change my way of doing things.
 
I have tried repeating phrases such as:
Go for it. Do it.
Don’t overthink things.
Just choose!
Only to abandon everything and pick the option of no choice.
 
That’s been the story of my life for years
To over complicate things to the point where nothing gets done.
 
It’s a viciously draining cycle.
 
But as strange as it may sound, I have somehow been able to manage my life accordingly.
 
And how, you may ask? Well…it’s quite simple.
 
I give myself extra time to overthink.
 
If for example, I am having difficulty picking between writing a post on my anxieties or my self-loathing, I purposely give myself an extra day to select between my options, knowing well that I will probably settle on writing a post about the ways in which I contradict myself.
 
It’s honestly quite a fascinating process to witness.
 
And it’s not as if knowing about how I overthinking everything makes the process easier.
In fact, it seems to make things more intense during the moment.
 
I don’t really know how to explain it.
 
But the best way to describe my overthinking is to visualize yourself wearing headphones with the volume turned on high and then you suddenly hear the song that makes your heart race and it gets put on repeat for an unknown amount of time.
 
You may want to sing along. You may want to break out and dance. But you can’t. Because then others will look at you weirdly. So you have to restrain yourself. And you sit or stand still while all these background noises surround you. And people go on about their daily routine.
 
And you’re there. Trying your best to block out the noise that others can’t hear.
 
Over and over again.
For the small decisions and the big ones.
I can’t keep track of all the time that I lost engaging in this process.
But now I have simply learned to enjoy the music and hope for the best.
 
So when you walk into a store and see someone holding and looking at two different shampoos and they’re still comparing the two when you’re walking out of the store, don’t judge them.
 
Simply walk past and enjoy your day.

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The Endless Cycle of Memories

My heart was racing.
 
I had no clue if he had noticed me looking at him. But with every drink that I consumed, the closer I moved my way towards him. It was a gradual process, glancing at him at every opportunity that I could find. And after the third or fourth glass, I was finally sitting right next to him

This was it.  
I closed my eyes. And took a deep breath.
 
By now, all the alcohol in my system had made my body warm and I wasn’t sure if it was the liquid courage or the motivational talk that I gave myself in the bathroom, but I was somehow able to gain enough confidence to start a conversation with him.
 
Slowly, I turned to him.
 
“How’s it going?” I said trying to sound as casual as possible.
 
“It’s going well,” he said nonchalantly.
 
“Are you here for happy hour?” I said before quickly regretting my statement because it somehow made me sound like I was some kind of alcoholic who visited and drank there regularly.
 
He let out a small laugh.
 
“Nah, I was just hungry and decided to give this place a try. It has good reviews, so why not, right?”
 
I couldn’t help, but stare at his eyes. They were nice and brown and complimented his dirty blonde hair.
 
“Yeah, true…but since you’re here, you should try the bacon cheeseburger. It’s really good…I mean, if you’re not lactose or anything…but even if you are, you’re not going to regret it…Well, unless you end up needing to go the hospital or something…and in that case, I really hope you have insurance…”
 
I could sense an incoherent ramble starting. Immediately, I stopped myself from saying another word.

“That’s a lot of information to take in,” he said almost jokingly.
 
“I’m sorry.” I said in embarrassment.
I stepped back and started to turn my head away from his view.
 
He grabbed my wrist gently which made me stop. And then, I turned around to look at him.

“What are you sorry for?” he asked.
 
“I don’t know…I guess for talking too much?” I answered sounding a bit unsure.
 
He let out another laugh.
 
“You’re fine. You just sound a bit nervous. Here, let me buy you a drink. Will that be okay?” he asked.

I stood there looking shocked. Nobody had ever bought me a drink. At least not while they were sober.
I continued to look at him. Trying to figure out how someone as handsome as him was talking to me.
 
“…Yes,” I answered with a smile.
 
A few moments went by.
It could have been a few seconds or minutes or hours. Who really knows?
We talked and laughed. And together, we got lost in conversation.

But then slowly, and surely, I opened my eyes.
 
The room was dimly lit with dance music from the early 90’s playing from the jukebox in the back.
A bartender stood in front of me.
 
“Are you waiting for someone or you alone today?” he curiously asked.
 
I looked around. The room was empty and the only people that were around were those that I could see through the window walking past the bar to whatever destination they needed to go.
 
I looked at the bartender.
 
“Just alone today…” I said giving him a fake smile.
 
“Alright, do you want the usual or something new?” he asked.
 
“The usual,” I answered.
 
“Got it,” he said as he walked back to get a cold glass cup.
 
It had happened again.
 
I had gotten lost in a memory that felt so real. A memory of someone randomly coming into my world to help me escape this miserable life that I had created for myself.
 
And even if the memory changed the location of where we met, our interaction stayed the same. I was the one that needed to be saved while he was the one who was willing to help save me.

But I was too blind to know that he was there to help change my life for the better that I ended up running away. only to realize that I needed him.
 
So, I went searching. Confident that he was out there waiting for me to sweep me away in some sort of romantic gesture. And then my life would suddenly be fine.

I went to bars, parks, beaches, movie theaters, and any place where I thought he would attend, but no matter where I went, I couldn’t find him.
 
Other men came along. Wanting to get to know me. Asking me out on dates. And I reluctantly said yes.
All along knowing that he was out there waiting for me. Rationalizing that perhaps being with other men would help me appreciate him more once we finally interacted with each other again.
 
A year went by. And then two. And then a few more.
 
Relationships came and went. Yet none of them made me feel happy.
I evaluated and compared every single person to him. And they failed.
Soon, the endless fighting and bickering with partners were calculated attempts to make them want to break up with me. And to nobody’s surprise, these breakups were a complete success.
 
But in my mind, he was still out there. Still waiting for me.
And I was still foolish enough to have hope.
 
“Here you go…that will be six dollars,” the bartender said as he handed me my drink, “do you want your tap opened or closed?”
 
I turned to look around the empty room one final time before turning back to him.
 
“Opened,” I responded.

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The Endless Cycle of Depression

I told him it was over for me.

The last year and a half had been an absolute waste. A complete lie.
I didn’t even know how it all occurred, but nothing in my life felt real.
And the best thing that I could do was to run away and escape everything and everyone.

But he insisted that life was worth living. Going so far as to share a glimpse into his personal life with me, a complete stranger, in the hopes that his story would prevent me from following through with my plan.
 
But the more he talked, the more my mind kept pushing his words away. Stubbornly disregarding his logical reasoning. Unwilling to stop and listen.  
 
I couldn’t help it. This idea had been 25 years in the making.
Ever since I could comprehend that the feelings I had been experiencing throughout my childhood were that of sadness.
 
I walked out of his car and started to thank him for giving me a ride home. But he interrupted me mid-sentence to tell me to stop and reconsider what I was about to do.
 
I looked at him and I closed his car door loudly, stumbling my way back to the apartment.
 
My body was numb from the all the alcohol. So, the next moments were just a blur.

I opened the door.
Walked to the dresser.
Grabbed my bottle of sleeping pills.
Swallowed as much as I could.
I grabbed my Xanax bottle.
Swallowed as much pills as I could.
I did the same with the next 3 prescriptions.
I wrote a short “Goodbye” on a notecard.
I grabbed another bottle of sleeping pills.
And walked out of the door.

The city lights looked lovely.
As I wandered aimlessly down the street at night..
The cold air hit my face. My stomach hurt.
Yet I swallowed more pills and tried hard not to vomit as I hid the now empty bottle behind a bush.
The cops arrived. They arrested me.
I awoke half-naked on the cold floor of a jail cell.
I somehow managed to get a ride back home.
I threw up pieces of pills in the bathroom toilet.

I went to sleep for the next 12 hours.

I woke up during the middle of the night. I looked at my phone. There were no notifications to see.
 
The next few days came and went. Slowly, some of my bodily functions returned.
When I felt strong enough to get out of my apartment, I went to see my psychiatrist.
 
I feared his reaction, shaking while I waited for his assistant to call my name.
But soon, I was in his presence. And I found myself comfortingly telling him every detail of what had happened that night. Stopping on occasion to look up and view his reaction.

Seeming concerned, he told me that I needed to go to the ER and that I was to ask them for a mental health evaluation. And then, once I was cleared, I had to return back to his office to discuss a follow-up medication-based plan.
 
I told him I would do what he thought was best for me and headed towards the door.
But before I could leave, he recounted a joke that he had heard the day before.

Weirdly enough, I let out a genuine laugh.

I arrived at the Emergency Room and told the receptionist that my psychiatrist had advised me to get an evaluation because I had swallowed around 40 to 60 prescription pills just a few days earlier.
 
Right away, she told me to fill out some forms and to wait for someone to see me.
 
I can’t recall too much of my trip to the ER. Because, in all honesty, a lot of work has been done into keeping the experience buried deep in the back of my mind. But I do remember the long waits, the seemingly uncomfortable smiles of the staff, and the yells of other patients in the background.
 
It wasn’t until almost the end that I realized that they were trying to keep me there under suicide watch.
 
And of course, my heightened fear led me to lie to the therapist giving the evaluation.
I told her about my background in Counseling and stated that I was pursuing a degree in therapy.
 
I knew what to say. Yet, I felt bad for saying it.
 
She was convinced that I was not going to act on my suicidal thoughts again. And after 5 hours since my arrival, I signed a few forms and was finally able to go home.
 
I remember feeling exhausted after returning home and stayed in my bed for the next few days.

Over the years, I started opening up to my family about that night. Receiving different levels of positive reactions each time. But most importantly, these conversations revealed some of my flaws in my thinking. They made me aware of the different people in my life that I didn’t know I had been living for.
 
For my niece, whose smile reminds me of everything that’s going right in my life.
For my mother, whose hugs let me know that she will love me unconditionally.
For my father and brothers, whose humor brings much needed laughter into my life.
And for myself, a person who continues to struggle with self-love, even if he has a lot of love to show to others.
 
It’s been an endless cycle of ups-and-downs since my suicide attempt two years ago.
But I learned that these feelings of sadness will never go away. And that’s okay.
All I can try to do is notice when these feelings occur. And find ways to positively cope with them.
 
Yes, it’s a never-ending cycle, but I have come to an understanding that I can control my response to it.
 
And I guess that’s how I am going through life right now. And I don’t know if it’s the best approach or the right one, but I do know that it’s keeping me alive.
 
And I hope, for anyone reading this, that you find your way too.
And together, we will prevail in this endless cycle of depression.

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The Endless Cycle Of Celebration

For the time we spend together is all that we need. It’s all that we have ever known.

Familiar figures migrate back and forth across our rented space.
Reluctantly sitting. Assimilating to the world around them.

Endless bottles of alcohol at hand.
Drank ever so slowly.
Destined to be abandoned on the living room floor.

Small children gather to hear parents speak.
Hearing gleeful stories of a troubled past.
A passion in their voice.
To hide the pain of a world left close behind.

But the sound of laughter fills the air.
Echoing past the narrow halls.
Into the shared rooms where children play.

Bodies begin to stumble. Alcohol starts to spill.

While our aunts and uncles move their bodies to the rhythm of that melodic beat.

The booming sound of music now deafens our ears.
Muddling the words of our conversations.

Incoherent talk of the future.
Of our families and ourselves.
Of what we could be. And what we ought to be.
Dialogue soon to be forgotten.

Yet the talk of gossip remains intact.
As known secrets hastily reveal themselves.
Shining light on strained affairs and strengthen relationships.
No longer rumors left unspoken .

Innocent children stop their play.
To carefully watch their parents with curious eyes and open ears.
Unknowingly learning how to bury the judgment from the world outside.

And soon the night will come to an end.
So, we race to share what our incompetent selves could not do sober.
Conveying our appreciation for what the world has taken and for what it has given us.
To an empty room with no one listening.

Finally, we wave goodbye and roam back to our cramped room.
Turning the lights off as we lie on our twin-size bed.
Our bodies intoxicated and our minds numb.
Anticipating our next celebration as we close our eyes and go soundly back to sleep.

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The Endless Cycle Of Introduction

Hello my name is…anonymous.

I mean, at this point in my story, it should be.

And as such, I should probably mention that this isn’t my first blog or my first introductory post on this website.

But in all honesty, I can’t take all the blame for my last failed venture on this online space. You see, keeping up with the high demand of writing intriguing and consistent posts conflicted with my family and work life. And as a result, my schedule became overwhelming. So, as I was accustomed to doing, I retreated and quit writing my thoughts on the world.

At that time, I reasoned that because nobody told me how much work was needed to formulating thoughtful and coherent sentences and ideas, that it was okay for me to give up.

I mean, who was I to say that I was completely at fault? Right?…Certainly not me.

Anyways, if you’re still reading, I will now begin introduce myself…again.

At the time of writing, I am a 29-year-old male living in California.

I have my Bachelors in Psychology and my minor in Counseling.

I have past experience working with at-risk youth in a residential and educational setting along with volunteer work in domestic violence shelters, LGBTQ centers, and sexual violence prevention programs.

Yet, as much as I take pride in working with diverse populations, I can safely say that my understanding of the world and how it operates is very limited.

I’ll explain by letting you know that after I graduated with my B.A., I started working at a group-home facility for at-risk adolescent girls.

And through their stories, it became clear that greed and manipulation were powerful agents that were used to misguide and prey on the these vulnerable girls. Knowing this, I did everything that I learned to show them that I was there to help them without wanting anything in return. I was determined to make them understand that there were good people in life. Yet many went back to that unscrupulous world. And they went back running.

So, I went searching for the answers to understand the fundamental nature of human behavior by applying to a Master’s Program for Marriage and Family Therapy and surprisingly, I got in.

But what I found in the program changed my view of people and the world.

And I don’t know if that was anyone’s intention.

So here I am.

I’m in a position where I can write these posts without needing to worry about the repercussions.

And through these posts, I hope you will understand the reality of my world and how it functions.

You will learn about my struggles. And how they may be similar or different from yours.

And I know you may be wondering why I chose to name my blog “The Endless Cycle Of…”

Well, our feelings aren’t static.

We will experience love, hate, anger, and sadness in different intervals throughout our lives and our reactions to such feelings will alternate over the years.

People will come and go. And sometimes, we may go with them. They will change your opinion and the way you see the world. Our goals and what we want out of our lives will adjust according to our needs.

Our life is just an endless cycle of our reactions to such events.

And if you give me a chance, you will learn about the endless cycles of my life.

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