|Doris Day and Rock Hudson|
The catalyst for this change will be as unique as we are, but for many the process of change is very similar. I like to think that life is like a TV show. When we turn on the TV we can watch our lives play out. We can see our lives, and know what’s going on; this is insight. If we don’t like the episode, we can turn the channel and choose to watch something different; this is a break-away.
For many of us, the biggest challenge to accomplishing the break-away is to identify what’s blocking the way. And believe it or not, for many gay men and women the blockage is old fashioned shame. Many of us carry unresolved shame over feeling like something is wrong with us, feeling like we don’t fit in, and feeling unlikable or worse feeling unlovable.
In his book, The Velvet Rage, Alan Downs says this about shame over being gay, “…gay men start at this place of being overwhelmed with the shame of being gay in a world that worships masculine power. …it is this stage that is characterized by being overwhelmed by shame. This is the start of his journey as a gay man, and it is by far the most difficult and damaging. He’d do anything not to be gay. He suffers immensely the pain of knowing that he can’t change the one thing that makes him so different from other men. He imagines that being gay will ruin his life completely, and there is nothing he can do to change it.”
Many of us spend an inordinate amount of energy running from our true identity as gay men and women. We run into bars, gyms, or back into the closet. We run into churches, marriages, and careers. This running is far more exhausting than owning up and reconciling the truth about ourselves, but running is often the only thing we know.