Ken Knox is a writer, reporter, post card entrepreneur, gay liberal atheist and Facebook enthusiast with flair. He is also a man who, like many of us, struggles with some niggling self-doubt.
We all have it, to some degree or another, although some can conceal it, to some degree or another, better than others.
There is no shame in modelling honest vulnerability, in fact, there is a great strength. It is empowering to own one’s self-doubt, to challenge one’s self-perception and assess one’s validity and worth. Empowering for the one speaking with candour and for those who hear the words. As I said, we are all, if we are as honest as Ken, struggling with some niggling self-doubt.
Is it Ok to be Me? – Ken Knox for neverblendin
I tell ya: It’s hard being a single gay man in today’s world. Especially one of a certain age.
I have purposely shied away from so-called “dating” apps like Grindr and Scruff for the last couple years because I didn’t like how I felt about myself after being on them for too long. But, living in a small town like Gettysburg, where there are very few openly gay men who are out and about, it sometimes becomes necessary to use them to meet people.
So I signed onto Grindr last night for the first time in months and immediately I was reminded why I stopped using it. Right away messages like “How hung, sir?” and “Looking to fuck, man?” started coming through, accompanied by the unsolicited dick or ass pic, without so much as a “hello” or “hey” to preface the sexual come-ons. And Heaven forbid you actually engage in one of these casual tryst discussions, because you’ll absolutely be reminded of all the various ways you fail in the “hot man” department. One guy chatted me up at length, only to dismiss me with a curt “Never mind” after he realized I was not a total gym rat muscle man. But at least HE responded: Most of the guys can’t even be bothered to acknowledge your existence unless you fall into one of their cookie-cutter “types.” (As if sexual compatibility is the only prerequisite that matters when it comes to social interaction. What about common fucking courtesy??)
Couple that with all the rejection I’ve experienced in my life, and it’s enough to make me retreat back into myself, tail between my legs, where I can go back to being the guarded, insecure and socially awkward teenager I was growing up, back when I felt like I didn’t “measure up” to all the other boys in school. Because I certainly don’t measure up to what most of the gay men I come across on Grindr or Scruff seem to be looking for. I’m either too old or too fat or too bald or too hairy or not muscular enough or not masculine enough. And those are tough things to hear when you’re still hearing the voices that told you you were not good enough growing up. As much as I would like to have a thick skin and not take it too personally, I’m not always successful. I’m just sensitive to hearing how flawed others think I am, and it can still sting when I do. I struggle with it constantly. And no, it doesn’t get easier the older you get. In fact, the older I get, the louder the ticking of the clock that tells me that time is running out on me ever finding someone to share my life with.
But oh well. What can you do, right? People are going to be people. They are going to throw slings and arrows at you because they’re entitled or oblivious or just plain mean, and at the end of the day you just have to surrender because there’s not a whole lot you can do about fixing EVERYTHING that’s “wrong” with you. Sometimes you just have to suck it up, take a deep breath and let it out with a sigh, and just be OK being you. I may not be the hottest guy in the world. I may not “measure up” to those high standards. But I am who I am, and I guess I just have to accept it or be miserable and sad the rest of my life.
So this is me trying to be OK with myself today, just as I’m trying to do EVERY DAY. It would be great if one of these days I DIDN’T have to work so frickin’ hard at it, but until then, I’ll just have to keep on trying.
At least I’m making the effort. Right?? 😉
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