With Chris now back at work following a week of vacation, it's time to return to writing posts for my blog. My apologies to those of you who visited but didn't find much new. I appreciate your patience. I hope you're still with me, and that I'll write something worthy of your ongoing interest.
A week or so ago, I received two personal emails from readers I'd never heard from before. One had followed my blog for a while; the other had just discovered it. The former wrote she felt a sense of comfort reading it, and the latter called it a "little oasis." Both opened my eyes to how others perceive what I'm trying to do here.
Perhaps in a way I'd never considered before, my blog is a haven of sorts, a place where I've created not just a community, but also a family of like-minded people, who are supportive and encouraging. Readers say they feel warmth and love here, and I can't think of a greater compliment.
As I approach the three-hundredth post, written over a twenty-six-month period, I thought I would share with you some random thoughts about my blog--what I want it to be, what I hope it is, and what it could be. I welcome your comments on any or all of this.
From the start, I wanted this to be a place where people wouldn't find blatant sex or pornography. The Internet is full enough with that sort of thing. Sex and pornography has its time and place, but there's room for something else, too--something hopefully thought-provoking, informative, and helpful. Feedback I've received tells me this approach is appreciated. My intention is to continue presenting the other side of being gay, the non-sexual side.
I still consider my relationship with Chris to be the core of my blog. As I read other blogs, I'm struck by the number of times people write about how lonely they are, the steps they've taken to meet significant others, and how much they want to settle down. One of my goals has always been to write openly and honestly about what Chris and I share, hopefully, as an inspiration to single gay people and to other gay couples. I've heard readers consider us an example, and I hope you'll continue to look at us that way.
Unexpectedly, I think I'm helping to change the reputation of older gay men as "trolls," out to pick up much younger men. I couldn't be further from the type who used to leer and smirk at me, when I was in my teens and twenties. Those men creeped me out, and I swore I'd never turn into them. Through my writing, I hope I've broken not only the "dirty-gay-old-man" stereotype but also shown older gay people live full and worthwhile lives, and have something important to offer those who are willing to listen.
One of the things I've been able to do is present some diversity within the gay community. Sure, there are those who, because of low self-esteem, live what is considered the stereotypical gay lifestyle--that is, drinking, drugging, and sex. But I hope my writing has also shown gay people can make different choices--choices more consistent with their self-respect. If my writing helps even one gay person to realize his self-worth and to love himself, my effort will have been well spent.
Based on the feedback I've received over the past months, I have the impression some LGBTQ people, especially those who are young, look at me as a trusted and respected authority on what it's like to be gay. I'm happy to take on this role. After all, I'll be 52 this year, I've been in and out of the closet, I've been single and partnered, I've had low self-esteem and worked hard to improve it, and I've spent a lot of time reflecting on what it means to be gay. Hopefully, I will continue to write on topics that resonate and provide direction people find useful.
As I close, I'll leave you with a few more comments from readers. I invite you to respond to any post I've written on my blog. I appreciate your interest in what I have to say, and I always love hearing from you. You are the reason why I try to write something that matters.
"Fortunately, my self-esteem is finally improving. Your blog has had a lot to do with that...."
"Thanks again for your blog, and for helping me to find a strengthened sense of self. It almost brings tears to my eyes as I consider the significance of what you're doing."
"I enjoyed so much your blog. Something simple and sophisticated where it is possible to find some sort of warmth and love. I felt comfortable in your space."