Reset

My three weeks in the USA in late June and early July was a great time! Food, friends and fun was what it was all about.

Driving from Detroit to Chicago with a mate for a week had to be the highlight. I loved spending time with him as well as eating some great American burgers and fries and slow cooked meat and seeing some new sites. The most memorable day was the one when we picked up a hippie hitchhiker then I got pulled over for speeding and then we attempted a 10 mile mountain bike trailer. It was my first ever speeding ticket. It turns out they do care about speeding in the USA despite everyone going about 15mph over the speed limit on the freeway. As always a bike ride is a great way to deal with the frustration and it was a good challenge to ride around lakes in American forest, which is very different to Australian.

I feel like the speeding ticket is a metaphor. Here is me that never speeds and generally doesn’t do anything wrong and the one time that I do, I get caught! I probably sound bitter, but I feel like I’ve done the right thing for years and years and there is never any internal reward for that.

After the drive, I hung out in Chicago for about a week and a half. It was a good time. Unfortunately a friend I was originally going to meet there for a few days was stormed in on the east coast just before independence day, but it was fun otherwise. I love slowly exploring a city and getting to know it inside out, so it was good. Chicago was such an easy city to get around in and had some great neighbourhoods.

On the way back to Australia I spent two days with a friend in LA. It was such a chilled beautiful time of hanging out and taking it slowly. It was very therapeutic.

One of my favourite memories was reading Matt Chandler’s Recovering Redemption as I walked around the Chicago Botanic Gardens. I sat down and read a chapter then I walked to another part of the garden and read another chapter and so on. It was a great reminder about the basics of the faith and how the gospel changes at and how it works out in day to day life as I was surrounded by God’s creation on a beautiful warm day.

The holiday acted as a great life reset after I got pretty exhausted towards the end of the school term and had been sinning pretty frequently. Things are the same as before I went, but something’s changed and I’m thinking a lot more positively about things in general and I’m doing a lot better with temptation.

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Coming out is weird

Coming out is a weird deal. Initially it begins with a secret that is totally yours. No one knows, although some would guess, that you think guys are hot and you’re a guy unless you tell them. You have so much power over whether people know or not. Further, when you’re keeping the secret telling people always seems to have more of a downside.

I’m thinking about this because the other day a major Australian Olympic star swimmer Ian Thorpe came out on national television. The interview became more about the shame he experienced about being gay and the considerations he had to make before he told anyone. While people have questioned his sexuality for years, he has always vehemently denied these ‘accusations’ (as he says I don’t want to say accusations because it makes it sound like a bad thing) and then at the age of 31 he stops living a lie and tells.

Crazily, if his story is correct, he didn’t tell anyone at all, including his family, until recent weeks. That kind of floored me. A 31-year-old man in modern Australia and he hadn’t come out. These days people probably thing it’s late to tell the first person ever at 20.

In front of Australia on national television a famous man was exposing the difficulties that a gay orientation brings. I also thought that despite all the rah rah from pro-gay groups over the past few decades, at times, for many people, it is still a very difficult thing for them to declare that they are gay even with all the societal support. The moderns would like to pretend that the gay attraction is like an optional extra. You are a person and you have a gay attraction and nothing about your person is different because of this. However, I felt that this interview was a reminder that having gay attractions is probably caused in part by a bit of an unhealthy disposition, and that the secrecy creates more unhealthiness and by the time someone comes out the person is very much changed and impacted by the gay attraction.

Personally, it was encouraging. It put a major face and name to the struggle with shame and secrecy that every gay person faces at some time. It encouraged me to keep seeking ways to be honest with the people I know. Perhaps I will share with my small group in the near future if the appropriate moment arrives.

Some interview quotes from Ian Thorpe:
And also that it’s not appropriate for that question to be asked of anyone. But what happened was I felt the lie had become so big that I didn’t want people to question my integrity. And, a little bit of ego comes into this. I didn’t want people to question that, have I lied about everything?

But I was already living somewhat of a lie in my life because I was trying to be what I thought was the right athlete by other people’s standards. I wanted to make people proud I wanted to make my family proud, I wanted to make my nation proud of me. Part of me didn’t know if Australia wanted its champion to be gay. But, I’m telling not only Australia, I’m telling the world that I am. And I hope it makes this easier for others now and even if you’ve held it in for years it feels better to lift this and get this out.

But you hear these remarks and things around someone’s career that market ability and things like that kept me in this lie that became a convenient lie for me to not accept it because I wasn’t accepting it in myself. I didn’t want to be gay. But I realised everything that I was doing I still was gay at the end of the day. So, that was most definitely part of it. And then it just was that big lie. That I felt there was a weight with that. And also what people’s reaction was going to be. I was scared.