Monday, April 9, 2018
Hey Coach... The revealing footnotes
I have been thinking about how life is really just about being subjected to one trauma after another with intermittent periods of joy and mundane periods in between. Each trauma causes a gash. Some are only but a scratch, others very deep. Society doesn’t foster the healing of these wounds. It is more interested in a quick fix, a swift resolution so we learn to not deal with them and just shove them under the carpet. Even in the case of the death of a loved one it’s considered acceptable, healthy even to show your emotions during the wake and funeral but society expects you to be done with it after the body or ashes are laid to rest. Emotions at work aren’t good for business and emotions in public tend to make everyone very uncomfortable. We talk about mental health a lot but it’s just words. Until we get comfortable opening up to our emotions and giving room to let them flow freely it’ll still all just be talk. Eventually we can become quite raw, bleeding profusely on the inside from so many unhealed cuts. At that point it’s almost overwhelming trying to heal the mess but it’s really never too late. And once the main lesions are healed, the others get the extra blood flow that they need, the healing process gains momentum and you begin to feel more and more free.
After my Hey Coach… post last week, I have been going through a whirlwind of emotions. I have been feeling so very vulnerable like in that dream where you realize that you are naked in a public place and you try to hide. Did you already have such a dream? Pretty sure it’s a common dream? But for me the past few days, instead of trying to run and hide I decide to just look up and then I notice that everyone else is naked also. That is what healing feels like for me. It’s noticing that we all feel naked and afraid deep down, but realizing that we don’t need to hide.
The tears that have been flowing these past days are not the tears of a 50 year old man. They are tears from the teenage boy who couldn’t shed them 35 years ago. They are tears from the teenage boy who is finally being hugged so very tightly by every single one of you who have shown me support. My inner child has come up to the surface this past week finally able to fully feel his pain. The only way to freedom from pain is through it. Thank you for accompanying me on this journey.
I realized this week that I have kept this secret for so long mostly because the teenage boy inside of me was afraid of rejection. At his age, the only thing that matters is acceptance. Teenagers spend all of their time trying to gain acceptance and belonging. Thank you for making me and my inner child feel accepted even as a survivor. I know that this doesn’t really make sense, but remember that the logic is that of a young teenage boy. In a very strange way the past few days were almost like I was attending my own funeral, reading the comments and messages of respect, love and support from friends and even strangers. Your words were so very humbling. Like at a funeral, each note brought a tear to my eye releasing so much pain and anger as it trickled down my cheek. It was the agony that was dying but it is my soul that can now finally rest in a certain peace. You often hear stories of people confessing their secrets on their death beds in order to free themselves before passing. I just couldn’t wait until I was on my death bed.
The Hey Coach… post took over a year to get written but in reality it has been like 35 years in the making. The final version was the 5th or 6th time that it had been written, each version becoming softer as the pain and anger left me. In some way I kindof feel like I didn’t write it, that I was just the scribe writing the words down, the thoughts coming to me from my emotional heart, communicated in streams mostly on solo bike rides or during yoga. All that I had to do was listen to the truth that was being funneled out to the world through me. I've known that the letter needed to be written a long time ago but my psychologist insisted that I wait until the end of the healing steps to see if I still felt the need to share it. As my therapy continued, I still continued to feel like I had to tell my story because keeping it a secret still felt like I had done something wrong, that I had something to hide.
I choose a written letter posted online. In a way it was a cowardly way to do it because I could hide behind the written words, behind an online avatar. A vlog (video) would have been more personal but I know for sure that I did not have the guts or the ability to keep my shit together on video. Writing comes more naturally to me and was the best way for me to ease into raising my hand and speaking up.
I choose to keep Mr BMX Coach anonymous because the post wasn’t written for him. It was written for me. In many ways my intentions were very self-serving. It was written as a personal pain and anger purge so that Mr BMX Coach can no longer continue to hurt me. Mr BMX Coach is simply a character in MY narrative. I did not keep Mr BMX Coach anonymous in order to protect him. I chose to keep him anonymous because I wanted the post to be about what I was feeling and not a jab at getting back at him, at getting even which would have come from a place of anger. The whole point was to purge the hate inside of me. We cannot beat hate with more hate. Only love can beat hate.
I do understand that there is a difference between someone who is gay and a molester. The teenager inside of me still has a very messed up understanding of this difference because his view is shadowed by his traumatic experience. Like I said, the adult in me does understand the difference and I apologize if I made any of my gay friends feel like they had to point out that gay is not the same as molester. Sorry if my post came out like that.
To my family, I apologize if sharing my story the way that I did came out as me airing our dirty laundry in a public forum. We talked about it beforehand, but I’m still sorry if this made you feel uncomfortable or vulnerable. I’m really not sure if you felt this way once I pulled the trigger but if you did I’m sorry. It was just what I had to do. I was just too sick and tired of living this lie.
I am a human being. I am no better than you because I shared my story. And in a way I don’t want this to be a boost to my ego making me think that I am better than Mr BMX Coach. It’s not about deciding who wins. It’s about healing. We’re all in this together, walking each other home.