You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Gay Pride’ tag.

IMG_3203

“And then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free…” – John 8:32

Around this particular time last year, I took a (in some respects “ill-advised”) leap of faith and came out to the world as a gay man. After boldly proclaiming this fact to the world of Facebook, I waited for the knee-jerk rejections, a wave of disownment from family and friends, and a rash of homophobic remarks from both factions in my life. Miraculously none of that negative fanfare manifested (at least not immediately), but I still didn’t feel whole or complete. I didn’t feel any different and I didn’t feel any better stepping out from the moth ball tainted closet into the fresh, mentally healthy air of the world.

Luckily that detached feeling lasted as long as an unwanted fart, dissipating into the carefree atmosphere of Mardi Gras on a celebratory New Orleans night. It was then where I truly felt free and my life took a turn for the better. Certain aspects of the world became clearer in my eyes; like an invisible path, after years of neglect and indifference, finally revealing itself for me to take on its promising trajectory into greatness. I became more in love with myself than ever before. I didn’t have to wear a mask with friends to disguise my unhappiness. I didn’t have to lie about being somewhere or with someone. I could finally live. It was the greatest gift I had ever received.

I just had to be me.

Along the way, I learned to let those who weren’t down for the cause go. And even if they continued to try and tear me down, I decided to just simply walk away and let them deal with their issues on their own. I’m still standing and getting stronger by the minute. I’ve met new friends, almost daily, who support me every step of the way. I’ve also became closer with those who have stuck by me, making it crystal clear that their loyalty will never waver and the feeling is forever mutual from my side of things.

Coming out also gave me a new sense of “truth” with my writing. As if I had unlocked a treasure trove of materials and possibilities with where my writing could go. My love for the craft only grew threefold and there are plenty of projects in the work. Hopefully, I will self-publish my own book of short stories and experimental pieces later in the year. Luckily, some of those new friends I met are also writers who have taught me a lot in this past year. I thank God daily for guiding us into a collision course of epic proportions that resulted in some damn good writing. We’re truly a coven/clique/those bois you don’t want to mess with when it comes to our writing.

I’ve also joined Male Media Mind, aka “M3,” which is an honor of itself, because I would be lying if the group didn’t take part in me becoming comfortable in my own skin, leading the way to the inevitable. I even talked about my coming out experience with Malcolm Travers, co-founder of Male Media Mind, on the group’s podcast: Male Media Mind Bearcast, which can be found on iTunes, Stitcher, and Podomatic. All the episodes are very informative and highly entertaining pieces, and I’m happy to be a part of something empowering and positive in the black gay bear community. And the gay community as a whole.

Finally, I’m happy. No seriously, I’m finally happy. Despite the normal dregs of everyday life, I can finally smile through it all, because I know that at the end of the day, I’m still going to be M.E. Mark O. Estes. Son of Mark and Regina. Brother of Darrion and Trenica. Uncle to Kayla, Jamie, and Star. I’m also a loyal best friend, a hard-working individual, and a bright intellectual who loves pop culture, the simple joys of a night of solitude, and a passionate writer with his aim set firmly for the stars.

And let’s face it, you gotta love M.E. I sure as hell do.

Happy Anniversary to ME!

Advertisements

Rainbow Me

(Author’s Note: I came out on February 15th, 2014 in a status on Facebook. Some of my friends said it was ill-advised, while others said it was the best damn thing I had ever written. I’m going to let you be the judge.)

Dear God, this is tough for me, but it has to be done…
In case most of you didn’t know (or cared), for the last week and a half I have been on a pseudo-Facebook sabbatical for reasons I don’t care to dwell into at the moment except that I needed time to reflect on a few issues I’m dealing with in my life now. One of those issues is my love life.
I’ve never believed in defining myself with labels…. I’d be lying if I said I never got caught up in boxed categories and other significant markers while maneuvering through society’s pubic labelmaking machine, which assigns stereotypes and delineates people based on their sexuality, gender, color, etc. I’ve been given such titles as ‘eccentrically straight,’ ‘blatantly gay,’ and ‘unfortunately bisexual,’ but at the end of the day, I’m just Mark.
I’m Mark O. Estes. Son of Mark and Regina. Brother of Darrion and Trenica. Uncle to Kayla, Jamie, and Star. I’m also a loyal best friend, a hard-working individual, and a bright intellectual who loves pop culture, the simple joys of a night of solitude, and a passionate writer with his aim set firmly for the stars.
I’m also deeply in love with another man. And the stigmatizing fear that has beset me most of my life regarding taking risks when the time was right (among other fears) has ruined not only a chance at being happy with that man, but it has crippled any thing else that could be on the table in the future with that man as well.
In the end, however, I’m still me. I love me. I just want those who I love and who claim to love me to follow suit. I’m not my sexuality. I’m not my “race.” I’m Mark. Mark O. Estes. Mark Octavious Estes. M.O.E. or M.E.
But since we live nowhere near a perfect world, I know there will be sickened disagreements and sighs of disapproval. And I don’t give a shit. So delete accordingly. I don’t mind. You will only generously weed out the dead weight for me and show me where you stand in my life. For all those who want to continue with me on this journey, just sit back and wait for what else I have to bring to the table. But until then…
I’m going to return you back to your regularly scheduled programs, because despite those previous seven paragraphs, nothing has really changed if you really paid close attention.
Love you all. Even the ones who will jump ship.
Oh and by the way: Don’t call, text, or pry asking me 20 questions or ask me in the streets what happened.Just call to say wassup. How are you? And what is your take on (insert your favorite show here). Anyone who does otherwise will be dealt with accordingly.

Mark O. Estes

me in black and white

(Author’s Note: This Facebook status/photo caption was posted March 3rd, 2014 after a life changing experience. Again, it got a lot of acclaim on FB, so I’m resharing it here.)

Picture, if you will, a young, black man on a personal journey in the midst of the chaos known as New Orleans during Mardi Gras. He ends up in an establishment on Bourbon Street where the music is just as lively as the gyrating bodies keeping up with its heavy bass and melodic beats. In the middle of this vivacious crowd stands two older black men, gay and deeply in love, dancing with each other passionately. The young black man was mesmerized by this striking scene, because he realized that not only were the two lovers happily enjoying themselves with no care in the world, but the crowd around them… The crowd didn’t care either.
The crowd did not care either.
There weren’t any stares of disgust. No forms of childish finger-pointing or giggling. Just harmonizing love. Peaceful, harmonizing love.
They did not care. THEY did not care
This wrecking ball of a revelation broke into something deeply personal for the young, black man. Something which was always aimed at that mental concrete wall within his soul, but was never successful of breaking through no matter the person or literature delivering the message.
“They” did not care. Nobody cares, Mark.
As the young, black man watched this beautiful black couple enjoy their life, their unconditional love serving as a beacon of hope, one of the lovers spotted him, possibly feeling the young, black man’s intense gaze upon him and his mate. The older, black gentleman matched his younger counterpart’s gaze of interest and awe, but instead of annoyance there was an instant connection between the two. Maybe it was the sense of wonder generating from the young black man who encouraged the older gentleman to hold his gaze with this arresting person. Or maybe it was the freshly purchased rainbow pride flag clutched proudly in the younger man’s hand, its bright and bold colors reflecting the revelatory awakening spirit generating their connection at that very moment. Whatever the case, that moment was purely magical on so many levels, tear-inducing almost.
Night Life Unlocked
The older gentleman, still dancing seductively with his lover, gradually made his way to the young black man holding the rainbow pride flag, surprisingly their gaze never faltered. As the couple made their way off the dance floor, the older gentleman walked towards the young, black man he’d just shared a temporary connection with and pounded fists with his new comrade, a knowing smile on his face.
The common gesture might seem menial to most people, but at that very instant that fist pound served as the final strike against the mental blockage with that young man’s mind. Life began to seep through the cracks of his steely resolve until it couldn’t withstand the restless pressure, finally giving in to the weight of a long-awaited breath that was impossible to hold any longer. The young, black man became fluid in his surroundings, the fear that had haunted him for most of the 30 yrs of his life evaporating into the hazy smoke and sultry environment of the New Orleans club’s atmosphere. The young, black man – excuse me, I – started to really LIVE.
That fist pound was like an electrical charge, a skeleton key, an inheritance of sorts to a life worth living. It released me. It demanded for me to live in the moment, and live for myself. Yes, that message was drilled into my head since before college, but it was always a mirage of sorts when it came time for me to put the sound advice into play. I never believed it. Not until last night. That’s when I really felt it. The brick to the face divulgence felt supernatural, as if that specific fixed moment in time was supposed to happen. As if that mesmerizing beautiful couple were Angels manifested to properly deliver the message that was constantly getting returned to Sender. My God… I’d never felt so emotionally free before in my entire life. And actually believed it.
It’s incredible how something so small and innocent can change someone’s life around in one given, thoughtless moment. I hope that I will do the same for someone else one day, but until then, I will continue loving me. I will continue building me. I will continue being me/M.E./your son/brother/cousin/best friend/lover/pal/
Falling in love with yourself is the greatest love affair of all. Everything else just comes naturally afterwards.
Me With My Pride Flag

Twitter Updates

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

Advertisements