listen to your voice.
one of the biggest challenges i’ve faced lately as a writer & poet has been being able to identify and tap into my most authentic voice throughout all of the recent changes in my life – externally, in my environment, and internally, with the changes in my belief system. and because of this i’ve discovered that, when your voice demands change, all you can do is wait for the rest of you to catch up.

i thought i left it cracked open – i never meant to be the one to shut the door completely. i distanced myself, that is true, but i did that mostly for you because i knew it would be easier on you. and part of me needed a wide birth to make mistakes and learn about this new wide world. but i figured once things settled down a little you would come back to me. i thought you would spend the time trying to learn and understand. i thought you would set aside prejudice and give yourself a chance to grow, just as i have.

part of the reason i created this website in the first place was so that you could see what i was going through from afar, stay connected to me in a passive way that wouldn’t put you in too much risk of being ostracized by our family, etc. i see now that it wasn’t enough and i don’t even know if you bother to read this anymore – it’s probably too hard on you. and it hardly matters, i’ve barely posted anything here for over a year.

but the fact is i know someone has read this. and someone will read this. i know someone out there needs to read it and is searching for it. i’m grateful because i know it’s never been a waste of my time & energy. besides the truths it has helped me to find, it has given others insight into their own truths. and really that was all it was ever meant to do.

in another week i’ll be thirty-one. in poet years that’s middle-age. i guess that’s why it feels so strange. to be this age and to reflect on the path of my life feels somewhat like wandering through a world created by tim burton – surreal & magical, but with a fair share of what looks like darkness on the surface to passersby.

i’ve had dreams come true, i’ve lost everything, i’ve loved & been loved, i’ve traveled, i’ve worked my ass off, i’ve been lazy, i’ve burnt in the fires, and i’ve been reborn – to be honest there isn’t much about it i would change, for each experience brought challenges & rewards that ultimately helped me to understand & accept the fundamental happiness and peace that had always been right under my nose, waiting.

but one thing i didn’t fully realize is that creating happiness & peace comes at great cost. if you choose to do it there will be casualties, and once you’ve attained it you won’t really know what to do with it or how to feel about it. and if you’re a poet or artist you will miss some of the very things that drove you to seek it out in the first place. this in itself is a new challenge, but one i’m willing to embrace because it feeds my will to stick around a little longer. and despite everything wrong with it, i still love life & the human experience. i love our beautiful tragedy, and our hope.

would it have been easier on all of us if i wasn’t gay? without a doubt. it would have made it easier for you to justify staying close to me, and it would have allowed me to save the relationships that have been most important to me my entire life.

the thing is, the loss of you in my life hasn’t, for even a second, made me wish i wasn’t gay. it hasn’t made me hate myself or want to be someone else. on the contrary, it has opened my eyes to so much that i may have never realized if i were straight. it has forced me to see religion, guilt & fear for what they are and destroy the power they had over me. and it made me see love for what it is, what it should be, and what it can be. ironically, being gay has made me come to know god. some of you, gay, straight or other, will know what i mean by this.

and that is at the root of where my voice is demanding i go now. in order to do this i’ve had to let go of some things, and accept new things. i’ve had to allow an exchange to take place. and i suppose i had to let enough time pass to experience the fall-out and resolutions.

now my authentic voice is emerging from a new place, and instead of trying to fight it or spend my energy mourning what was, i’m determined to fully throw myself into what is. i have nothing left to lose, and everything to gain. and i want to build something extraordinary & beautiful from what i have already gained. for me, this is not only a new chapter, but a new book entirely.

if you still visit here and are reading this i want to leave you with one piece of the puzzle that has taken me a long time to grasp. it’s very simple, and it is this: we will only accept, create & express that which we believe we truly deserve and are capable of. if it’s love, we will only accept the love we believe we deserve and are willing to work for. if it’s a career, we’ll only be as successful as we believe we deserve to be and only if we never stop trying. if it’s a dream, we’ll only fulfill those dreams that we believe should be fulfilled. the key to it in any context is your belief.

but it is your belief, and the power anyone (or any thing) wields over it is limited – it will only stretch so far. the rest, as they say, is truly up to you.

“i’m sorry that i couldn’t get to you…”

by JTW
©2013 JTW “jtwhitaker.com” All rights reserved.