|Sean and the Sassy Spo-Shirt|
Sean Breen, my sweet, funny, empathetic, endlessly-supportive friend is turning 40 today. The idea for this post came from D@vid who has already posted a fantastic tribute to Sean.
For several years as a gay but in-denial married man, I secretly and guiltily read blogs written by gay guys. I never dared to "out" myself by commenting on anyone's blog, even anonymously. Although I knew I was attracted to guys, I never even considered myself in the closet; I was a married father with teenage children, for Pete's sake! I wasn't gay!!
I had several blog favourites, but it was Sean's blog which struck a chord with me the most. He was so honest and passionate about living life on his terms. At times, Sean seemed almost vulnerable, yet was so very brave in putting his fears and insecurities "out there" for the all the world to see.
In November 2010, Sean announced he was stopping his "Undie Monday" feature due to lack of participation and put out one last call for submissions. I thought, "My gosh, what if no one submitted a picture? That would be so sad!" I was so concerned about Sean's feelings getting hurt that in an impulse, I quickly snapped a out-of-focus pic of my pasty-white, flabby, unattractive torso * and send it in. My first blogger contact ever and most certainly my first-ever undie shot!
* I don't think that any more! Sean and many kind online friends quickly convinced me that my negative self-image wasn't accurate.
He thanked me for the pic and added,
Such is the power of words that Sean, in that single phrase, provided me with the encouragement I needed for me to begin my present, incredible gay journey.
His response prompted me to pour out my story, fears and insecurities in an e-mail to Sean. Thus began incredible, extensive e-mailed conversations during which Sean convinced me that I was indeed an extremely sexy, desirable guy and that where ever I fell on the spectrum of sexuality was okay. He taught me that everyone's sexual path is different and each one is to be cherished. Sean convinced me that sexuality was something to be celebrated and that living one's life with honesty, fully and joyfully "out" was the only option.
Eventually, with Sean's encouragement, I started my blog and began to embrace the changes in my life. In the (occasionally) tumultuous months which followed, he provided constant support, encouragement, an education in all matters gay and concerned ear for me to pour out my fears. In the terrible nights after my wife and I separated permanently, Sean was the only person to whom I confided my fears, despair and anguish about the impact all of this would have on my family. Through it all, he constantly reminded me that living an honest, open, "out" life was the only way to true happiness.
Thank your for your incredible support and encouragement buddy!! I will never be able to repay you for all you've done for me. Embrace your 40s Sean; the best time of your life is ahead of you!!