“Confidence is generally described as a state of being certain that a chosen course of action is the best or most effective.”

“I’m asking you out on a date. Right now.” He said via text. “Michael, would you like to go on a date?”

He continued by rolling out an intended-to-impress resume of exotic places he’s lived, awards he’s won in his field, multiple degrees he holds, and the real estate he owns. He then topped it all off with, “And I’m a bit of a snob.”

Unsure whether I was intrigued or turned off by his playful “confidence” I responded, “I don’t want to date you if you’re snobby. And I don’t care who you are or what your job is, as long as you’re nice to me and have some integrity.”

This is NOT a typical answer from me. Normally, I would say yes to the date and go forth in fear—hoping that he would like me and be down to earth enough to see past the fact that I’m not rich, or super design-savvy or even a good housekeeper—like all the gay guys around me seemed to be.

For the first time in forever, I was (able to be) apathetic about going on a date with a handsome guy who was trying to sell himself to me. He eventually convinced me to meet him for dinner—or more so, my girlfriend had convinced me to go because I didn’t have a date lined up with the guy I had been interested in. However, my apathetic attitude about this guy held up right until the moment—a few days later—when we did actually meet, at which point I realized I was actually attracted to him!

I like to tell stories of my psychotherapy and dating life to the students in my classes while I make them hold excruciating poses. I’m not sure whether they find it entertaining or not, but I certainly do.

So, on the Monday following this date, I told my class the story of how I was wishy-washy and apathetic right up until meeting the guy—at which point I think I crossed the line to being overly-enthusiastic and felt like I came on too strong. I offered him compliments about how he looks in person and the way he presents himself—I think partially because I was surprised and impressed, and partially because that incessant validation-seeker in me was wanting to know if he was also into me. He offered ZERO compliments in return, but he did pick up the cheque and drove me home. I feel like I may have forced the kiss at the end—though it was returned–so who knows? Then I went up to my apartment, called my girlfriends and agonized over whether or not I came on too strong and/or came off too needy.

Inherently, I knew the answer to this—and it was echoed by my guru Brian during a frantic phone call the next morning—that it was good if I didn’t turn him off, and it was good if I did. Because–apathetic, pushy, needy, insecure, charming or whatnot at the time–I was being myself which would expedite the reality of whatever our relationship was to be. The long and short of it was that it wasn’t to be, though it turns out it wasn’t because of his reaction to anything I said or did, but actually because—from what I gathered—he didn’t even know what he wanted.

The next day, I also took a chance with someone I was interested in, and I basically stated my needs—while totally aware of the possibility of losing the potential altogether. But, I thought to myself at the time, that’s the risk I need to take to get what I want.

These actions empowered me and helped me in being hopeful of finding what I’m truly looking for.

Lately, I’ve been putting more focus on my creative endeavours, which has left me feeling like I’m on the right track.

I’m doing what I love–I’m a writer and photographer, and I’m sharing my journey.

Walking down the street recently, I realized something else had shifted. For years—with working on my body, and labouring over my style and trying to be cool—I had often checked out the gay guys I passed to see if they were looking at me, and I’d be offended when they weren’t.

That’s part of the reason I had an ‘I’m so over the gays in this city’ attitude for so long. I figured they were all just bitchy queens who were stuck on image and popularity and everything superficial and didn’t look at me because they either didn’t approve of—or were intimidated by—my look. I’m still jaded and believe there’s not enough focus on character and values in a lot of gay interactions—but that’s not the point of this story.

Before I continue, I’m going to make mention that I can look back to my early recovery and recall that—in the height of my delusion—I would also make playlists on my devices—not of the music I thoroughly enjoyed—but of music that I believed would sound cool had I been stopped by someone asking what I was listening to. Those were the depths of my insecurity.

Interestingly, I was walking with my head up this day, listening to the music I like—Air Supply, Celine Dion, Belinda Carlisle—whatever—and texting and checking my email EVEN when there was a cute guy on the horizon. I found myself looking up ONLY if I wasn’t occupied with my own activities at the moment. I was able to let a cute guy pass me by without needing to know if he was looking at me or not.

For the first time I realized I was living within my own life.

The next time I hopped into my therapist’s chair, I said, “I think the therapy is finally kicking in!”

After I explained my recent empowering acts, he asked me to think back to a discussion we had where he talked about living from the inside out versus from the outside in. That it can take some time to get there—and it had for me—but that there can come a point when a person who once lived his life for what he thought everyone else expected of him—and to impress everyone else in order to be validated and find a sense of identity in himself—can begin to live his life increasingly from the inside out. This means likes, dislikes, passions, interests, desires, habits—everything—is expressed from a place of authenticity and integrity without being contorted into what he believes would be well-received and therefore validate his existence.

I suppose this is real confidence—living my life simply because it’s my life and not because of how I’ll be revered or rejected by anyone else. I also believe—in the same vein—that telling someone all of my admirable qualities lacks confidence, and rather demonstrating my character by being myself is the groundwork for solid, intimate relationships.

For always-insecure me, this revelation is life-changing.

I have to say though, I’m actually not feeling it today. In fact, I’m feeling quite needy, and I almost went back on my word with one of the guys in order to receive a little reassurance of his attraction to me.

But I didn’t. Instead, I wrote it out…and shared it with you—and with my class this evening while they held Warrior Two.

 

Michael

 

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