Spit it Out!

Learning to Express Yourself is a Key to Success.

Many people can’t ask for what they want because they don’t know how to express it. I was one of them. Now look at the word ‘express-ing’, it means fast, speedy and direct. As a kid I had a stammer from god knows when till a teenager and dreaded queues in shops and ticket offices. By the time I was asked what I wanted nothing came out but splutter, shame, public humiliation and deep embarrassment, everything except fast, speedy and direct.

davidparker_keepcalm_sept13On top of this I had a nervous squint. I contracted meningitis on the spine when I was 6 months old and over the next 12 years was a frequent visitor to brain damage tests with a final conclusion that I will ‘grow out of it’. Well I did when I discovered alcohol & drugs. This masterful brew gave me confidence, a clear speedy voice, though often sharp and bitchy. In future therapy sessions, I was told it was an act of survival, an old pattern, thinking I could not be heard. Oh and I was ‘a red’, a ginger, an outsider and gay, way before fetish sites put red as a hot topic of sexual attraction. All in all, a teenage nightmare. No wonder I embraced getting ‘out of it’.

We had no knowledge about addictions, codependency or ‘finding yourself’ in self help books in the 70’s, it was all about sexual liberation, learning to express yourself through your body, so I soon got the hang of that. Less talking, less stammering, less nervousness, more action.

This inadvertently led to many years of sexual addiction until a virus took hold of my priorities, being forced to learn how to express myself ‘to serve myself first’, not heed to the demands of others. This aspect of codependency is rife in the gay community and often leads to unsafe sex as people-pleasing leading the way to a man’s zipper, but the desire to be connected, to belong, to seek approval as an act of expression, can leave you short-changed when it comes to emotional satisfaction. Clearing up the mess of others as fixer, or being entangled in a relationship with someone who cannot express themselves via depression, past abuses, alcohol dependency does not bode well in the healthy relationship stakes.

fear-is-in-your-head1Assisting or understanding a partner with these issues, while detaching, in order not to get sucked in, is extremely difficult, but essential in order to manage your own sanity. Learning to say NO more often and ridding yourself of the belief that ‘when you get YOUR needs met, others lose’ is the key to emotional recovery. This may appear selfish in print, and to some unloving, but in reality the biggest aspect of relationship breakdown is ‘ not getting needs met’, because often those needs have failed to be expressed because of ‘harming’ the other person. Not wanting to rock the boat by telling the truth faster creates suppressed anger, game playing, dishonesty and fear. The opposite to love.

When I started a recovery process from active addiction over 30 years ago, I shockingly discovered I was shy. Quite the opposite from the persona I had created. Then I had to learn to communicate verbally & sexually without chemical support, and the stammer came back along with the nervous squint and it felt like I was back at square one, which I was. Back to being the emotional wreck of a teenager with the luggage of 17 years of using.

With self help groups and counselling I managed to explore the reasons, and the lessons of coping with and managing demons like ‘Not being good enough”, “feeling damaged” “not a real man” etc and turn these negative lies into positive statements of truth. In 1984 I began spending every night, for the next 3 years, going to sleep with Louise Hay affirmative tapes on a loop in order to find the real me buried beneath the shames. Then with yogic rebirthing breath work started to express my subconscious emotional fields, until I healed my body and released chronic active hep B from my body in 1996 without medication. That’s a whole story in itself.

davidparker_expressyourself_sept13Eventually the stammer and squint left me, confidence was acquired and I learn’t to ‘tell the truth faster’. For the past 10 years I have travelled the globe every 2 months leading seminars on personal development, holding a room of 30 -50 people for 3 days without a manual or script, just focussing on ‘the NOW’, and allowing things to occur organically. So perseverance paid off. The only way I could express myself in my using days was by being workaholic, by constantly thinking I needed to be in control, while my life was totally out of control. Today I am still clean, sober and Hep B free, long may it continue, a day at a time.

safe_image.phpThis was my monthly piece in HIM-MAGAZINE : http://www.him-magazine.com/2013/09/01/spit-it-out/

Queer Ageing

Back in the days of ’50/60’s homo criminalisation they used to sing ” Nobody loves a Fairy when she’s Forty ” but now the internet is awash with Daddies, Bears and Spanking GrandDads – thankfully nobody needs to look like Cher anymore to still be in the game.

A report came out in 2010 about the upward trend of older users of recreational drugs suggesting on evidence that people over fifty just ain’t gonna give it up for health concerns or abstain which is why the government stance on harm reduction is one of last resort. We also know that many gayers well over 40 sit at home on Gaydar with tina or chemical friends for companion. One wonders when Addison Lee will get a STONEWALL Award for services to the community, delivering all that gear, but the majority of older gayers just wanna have fun or the fun to continue sanely.

However, myths and negative stereotypes concerning older gayers still exist but the old chestnut of being depressed, isolated, desperate, sexless and predatory is fading fast. We have the internet to thank for that. Most research confirms that growing older as gay or str8 is not much different, embracing or ignoring life changes, but noting that any person who hasn’t adjusted well to other aspects of life won’t adjust well to ageing either. I think that by nature of the beast, gayers are better prepared for ageing having lived independently, are in the habit of socialising with many more different strands of society and are not dependent on grandchildren in later years to provide distraction from retirement. Being lonely in old age was always the fear thrust upon us by society when in reality it is older str8s that now realise that access to grandchildren are not a given anymore, with family break-ups, divorce and low marriage statistics in the mix.

In 1978 Bell & Weinberg ( Homosexualities : A Study of Diversity Among Men and Women ) found that lesbians and gay men were more likely to have a network of close friends than heterosexuals. They postulate that heterosexuals are more likely to be involved in family interactions as opposed to outside friendships. Integration into a homosexual community is an important factor in the adaptation of older male homosexuals, as the community of friendships is important to the gay and lesbian throughout the lifespan, it continues, they are not dependent on family for their emotional support and needs. This is important for several reasons. First, gays and lesbians are much less likely to experience an ” empty nest syndrome” as support already comes from outside the home. Second, the community affords older gays and lesbians the opportunity to meet new people and socialise. As the homosexual community is usually noted for its diversity, older individuals have the opportunity to socialise with a wide range of individuals, young and old. In addition, work relations usually do not make up the majority of personal contacts outside the home, thus, upon retirement, the network of friends remains relatively unchanged. The establishment of friendship networks appears to make the ageing process EASIER for gays and lesbians”.

Now if this was the conclusion in 1978, before Gay Pride, before the reduction in Age of Consent, before the Internet and before Elton came out, post marriage as a gayer, then we are streets ahead in senior age management in the new century. Civil Partnership will not have much effect on ageing, except that men no longer need to stay in a dysfunctional relationship to avoid loneliness in later years. The rush in the first year of being able to ” marry ” was mostly existing long term relationships in mature years already. Thankfully, couples will chose to marry for reasons, other than fear of ageing. Middle age gayers now have other options, not so widely available in 1978, worshiping the post-clubbing Gay Holy Trinity – Travel, Therapy & Interior Design to fill those autumn years.

When AIDS took the Daddies away in the 80’s/90’s, an emotional wound remained until time took it’s course after combo’s in 1996. Rarely then did young gay men freely admit they fancied Dads, hairy bodies or leadership in direction, yet it was obvious that once the fad for smooth bods lessened and gay men shopped around a bit on fetish sites or XTube, older suddenly became wiser. Now the rise of big muscle bears, silverdaddies.com and even mature escorts prove that the hunger for wisdom is being satisfied. Not all guys want a hot bod, many just want to be held in silence by older hands. But it is our minds and thought patterns that remain the biggest enemy, when projecting fear with procrastination on greying hair, if any remains of course. On asking a client whether he had many older friends he replied ” I don’t know anyone gay over 35 because I don’t sleep with anyone over 35 “.

So there you have it, and I doubt whether he is the only one.