And then the Universe answered my questions, from many angles and in different ways. The question was, “What do you need from me?” Essentially, “Where can I best serve?”
You would think that I have heard this response before but, in all honesty, I was in denial. “How will I be received? Who won’t read or watch my work anymore? How will my family and friends react? Will I embarrass them? Can I really make a difference here?” These were all worries in my head. These were all barriers to expressing a unique part of me, my limitless heart, the part that the Universe is calling for.
If you asked me why I do what I do, I would tell you that I want to end suicides.
Can you imagine? It’s my ultimate dream. I believe the only way to get there is through finding self-acceptance…essentially self-love. You won’t kill yourself if you accept and love yourself. So, I teach self-acceptance…I teach about the inward journey of finding yourself. A lofty dream, but mine anyway.
Yet I kept hearing about the suicide rate percentage of the LGBTQ+ population, my family, which is 5-8 times higher than any other population in the nation. And I kept hearing it…
the Universe made sure that I heard, and it became clear where “I am needed.”
I heard it in my meditations where I was being called to step into this place that scares me. I heard the answer in two podcasts that I randomly stumbled across. It came when I listened to a masterclass that discussed your audience’s pain points…essentially, what their pain is and what you can offer. The final answer came in the form of a friend looking for someone to go to the local schools to share and speak with the LGBTQ+ youth.
Okay, Universe, I got it. LGBTQ+, Suicides and Self-Acceptance…my life has led me here:
LGBTQ+ – I joined the Navy when I was 18 and was in my first gay relationship a few years later. So yes, the world’s finest Navy made me this way. That wasn’t true 🙂. I spent my next 22 years serving my country, absolutely loving my job, while also fearing being outed for being gay. I, like most of my friends, remained closeted. If I discussed my life, I would be “kicked out,” essentially forced out of my family. It was painful, and I stayed hypervigilant. Many young LGBTQ+ experience that from their nuclear family on a daily basis.
As far as family and friends, I’ve had some “I love you no matter what” coming out experiences…and I’ve had some, “I love you even though you’re now going to go to hell” coming out experiences. I still brace for impact and anticipate the latter, regardless of who I’m coming out to.
The “baggage” of living in the closet for so many years is a tough one to overcome.
Suicide – Unfortunately, suicide has been a part of my life since I can remember. One of the first deaths I recall was a friend’s father driving his car off of a cliff. That same friend, Danny, was like a brother to me. He also drove off of a cliff in 1997, which was devastating. I miss Danny a lot and will probably always regret not calling him back the last time he called. I’ve lost four other people to this epidemic, three high school friends and then one of my mentors in the Navy. There are never answers that make sense. I could go on…maybe one of these days I will.
For now, I’ll only say that one suicide is one too many and those of us left behind have a really hard time ever letting ourselves off of the hook.
The Solution – Traveling the long and solitary trip back to self-acceptance is something every human endures, and I’ve been on that road since I can remember. Those who have experienced societal rejection have a harder time accepting and loving themselves. They don’t know how to live in a world where they feel rejected, from their family, their friends, and their God, for something that is their nature. This is why they are taking their own lives 5-8 times more than their counterparts. They want what you want. They want a peaceful world. They want love and acceptance. They want a place where they are treated equally, with dignity and kindness, and mostly they want to live happy and healthy lives.
They haven’t yet learned that they are loved and accepted, that they are their answer, that life gets better, that their uniqueness is their incredible strength.
If you are struggling with being uniquely awesome, please hear this:
Everyone, and I do mean EVERYONE, is trying or has tried to fit in. It doesn’t work because you’re trying to fit into someone else’s life. You are meant to fit into your life…it was tailor-made just for you.
I know it seems like it won’t get better, but I promise it will. Reach out and just keep moving through it. There will come a day when you look back and think, “Man…this life I’m living? It is one big Hell Yes!”
Message received, Universe. I’m stepping in. I would love for you to join me. Danny would like that…Peace friend ✌️🙂
p.s. If you’re in struggle and need support, don’t give up…reach out to one of these resources:
- The Trevor Project (Saving Young LGBTQ+): Trained counselors are here for you 24/7: 1-866-488-7386
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 (Available 24 hours every day)
- Additional LGBT Suicide Resources: American Association of Suicidology
p.p.s. Here’s my first video on Operation “End Suicides”