I’m wrapping up a stay with my family over the holidays. While spending time with my family I’m also in regular contact with my partner and my boy. I’m struck with the disparity between how I’m interacting with my family and how I’m interacting with those I’ve chosen to be in my tribe.
Most queer men were not raised to be ourselves. I know I wasn’t. I was taught to do and to feel what was expected. I learned that what my family or community thought was right was somehow more important than what was right for me. I learned that appearance was more important than substance. I lived much of my childhood and young adulthood being seen and not heard.
As children we take in so many lessons that we don’t even realize we’re learning. As adults, the only way we can unlearn those lessons is by challenging them. Challenging isn’t the same as rebelling. I’ve been a rebel most of my life, but rebels don’t have goals. Challenging the status quo is about claiming what I want and making that real.
One of the ways for me to challenge my family is to create intentional family. The phrase intentional family is very powerful for me. It allows me the freedom to create a family of supporting. loving people who encourage and help me to become the best me I can possibly be rather than some quality that doesn’t fit who I am.
I feel fortunate in that I’ve been able to create intentional family for myself. Chuck has been in my life for several years. We first met when he came to me for a massage. Over the years, we’ve developed a close, familiar relationship. It’s funny but with all I’ve been focused on recently about David, Chuck is like a father to me even though we don’t have a formal Daddy/boy relationship. Nevertheless, Chuck has been that father figure to me. He’s helped me clarify what I’m looking for from my life. He’s invited me to a regular men’s group where we share what’s going on for us. I can count on Chuck for love and support – not to mention a good fuck too! He’s definitely part of my intentional family.
Life can be difficult, part of the challenge of life is to recover from obstacles that get thrown in our path. To me a key quality of successful people is that they find a way to get back up when life knocks them down. A supportive family can be a great ally that helps us get back up. A supportive family doesn’t judge; rather, they encourage us to stretch and grow and learn more. They encourage us to be bold and audacious in our wants and desires. They help us on the path to turn these audacious goals into our realities!