It feels like an entire year has blown by, but in an intense, high-velocity windstorm that concentrated a lot of events as I look back on the year.
There’s so much that I can think about that happened this year. Several changes have occurred within the last year and a half that I’m not the same man who I used to be. In many ways, I have changed for the better, but it has been difficult. To help face these changes head on, I set goals for myself when resolutions were being made, and now it’s time to count the beans and see how things went.
I cannot express in words how thankful I am for where I work. I never thought that I would be able to live so authentically as a gay man. It has not always been easy to work at my job, just like any job has its ups and downs, but the love that has been shown toward the GLBT+ community is immense and genuine. I am so grateful to be part of the development of that environment. It will benefit not only me, but anyone who needs to feel comfortable living their authentic self at work.
An Out Leatherman and Nun at Work
When the Pulse tragedy happened, I made the decision to out myself as a Leatherman and Nun at work. It was probably one of the scariest acts I’ve done in my tenure there. I wasn’t sure how the community would respond, but I was doing it because I wanted them to know that they had a protector and confidant in whom they could trust to keep their interests and stand up for them. The result was an overwhelming acceptance, and I am so grateful for that.
I’m building an image of what a Leatherman in the workplace looks like. It’s the start of a journey that I am very excited about, and one that I’ve gotten a lot of insightful feedback about so far. A lot of very positive feedback, I might add. When I began the journey as a Leatherman 10 years ago, I wanted to make Leather a much more transparent community than the cloistered and cloaked community that it was. We will always have things that remain in dark corners, but there are so many aspects of my life that have been made better because of my Leather Walk, and I want those Leather ideals to be promulgated and normalized into society.
When outfitting my new vest, I chose the title “Guardian” to display on the heart side of my vest. The primary reason why I did this was that I needed a reminder that it is okay to look out for my own interests when necessary, and the main person I am guarding is myself. Whether it be looking out for myself or for other people, I’m challenging myself to look out for my own interests when it comes to the decisions I make in life henceforth, because I have often made decisions that negatively affect me even if they positively affect someone else.
This is a behavioral change that is going to take some time to retrain for some time, but I have had some success so far. It has cost some connections that were considered to be friendships, but I am accepting the outcomes as positive. Those who see my looking out for myself first as selfish or self-serving will fade into the background. Looking out for one’s self is not a bad thing, and I expect it from anyone I encounter. In doing so, we can then share experiences and friendships knowing that there is stability in our own lives first and foremost.
Once again, I will be going through a process to become a single man. I’ve had a lot of emotions about this transition. The automatic emotion has been the overwhelming sense of being a failure at yet another relationship and succumbing to irreconcilable differences. My desired outcome is a retained friendship. I know that the biggest step toward this will be getting my own place at some point in time in 2017. At that time, I know that the healing process for me can begin.
I’m happy that I’ve not been approached by any mutual friends with any discussions about choosing sides or with bad talk about anything to do with our relationship. It was not a concern to begin with, but it’s worth being said that I’m glad that we both have friends who are of a certain maturity about things and understand how break ups can be handled with dignity. That is a huge blessing.
I’d like some feedback from you to help me shape 2017 and the future Brady. What are some virtues that you hold steadfast in your life? We all know about things like The Golden Rule, but what is something that is unique to you that you’ve found to be a constant throughout your life that has been a guiding light at any point in your life? One of my virtues is that the only thing consistent in life is change. It is a virtue that has helped me prepare for just about anything that life has thrown at me. Comment on the Facebook post that I’ll make to share this blog entry, or feel free to write me directly if you stumble upon this article at a later time.