Today’s piece is written by my great friend Collin — a man of many talents. A horseback riding, Soul Cycle enthusiast, and Twitter aficionado, if you will. They say a picture is worth a thousand words so, to better describe Collin, here he is:
Collin was actually the first person I ever asked to help me write an LGBTQ-related piece back in college. His willingness to support my projects, and also be honest and vulnerable in the process, has been something I really appreciate and admire.
As cliche as it may sound, Collin is just unapologetically himself and it’s invigorating to be around. He makes the people around him feel comfortable without even consciously trying. As you will read though, not everyone Collin encounters even takes the time to realize they feel similarly.
I really loved this piece, because at its core it’s just honest. The idea of “Pride” really does encompass a lot of happy memories for people, but to truly appreciate the positives, we must also acknowledge the setbacks.
Collin’s words will give you the perfect insight into what this means:
My good ole friend Krump asked me to write a blog post about pride and what it means to me. I thought it would be easy! I’m gay. I have pride. Give me 20 minutes and a glass of wine and I’ll be done, but I was wrong.
I have to be honest, I don’t know much about blogs. In fact, I think of them as solely a place where people go to write about topics of expertise or to offer advice. You make a mean fudge brownie that’s under 4 calories? Blog it. You were able to overcome a terrible break up with a neighbor’s dog? Blog it. However, when it came down to writing this blog post, instead of feeling like an expert with advice to give, I became overwhelmed with a strange feeling of guilt. Who was I to write a blog post about pride?
Pride is often synonymous with being proud, but to me, that’s not always the case. In fact, there are many times I wish I could be more proud of who I am. For example, I felt like shit recently when I hailed a cab in NYC after a date, and the driver sped off when he saw me kiss my date goodbye. In high school, I cried in the bathroom after I was denied the opportunity to donate blood, all because I had slept with a man. I still get nervous holding hands with another man in public because I fear shame and rejection. When I think about these little things that make me not so proud, I realize there is still so much work to be done – both personally and in society.
But then again, there is also so much to celebrate. For starters, I didn’t even have a super dramatic coming out story. I was 16 years old, tying my shoes before school one day when my mom approached me and said, “Coll, your dad and I know you’re gay and it’s not a big deal. We will always love you.” Also, I can get married to whoever I want (PSA boys, DM me @collin_russ). Pride is compiled of little moments like those because when it comes down to it, I’m pretty #blessed. I have a supportive family, amazing friends, good health, and a career that leaves me feeling fulfilled. This month isn’t just about celebrating the LGBT community and the strides we’ve made, it’s about celebrating yourself and who you are. Being a living, feeling human is fucking hard sometimes, and Pride Month is a great reminder to reflect on all there is to celebrate. Be proud, have pride.
I have been avoiding writing for so long because I feel like
nothing I can say will have as much weight as my previous post.
I’m usually pretty hard on myself about writing too. I’m not
the most eloquent or the most creative or the most unique, so why would I write
publicly if my words don’t have meaning to anyone aside from myself? What’s the
point of creating content if it’s not influential or moving?
It is so easy to get lost in that mindset. And it’s
especially easy for me to take that doubt and insecurity and let it manifest
Also, for lack of a better euphemism, I feel like I have
just been existing recently, and I don’t find that worth expressing. Living in
New York City can be such a liberating experience, but recently I think I have
taken that for granted.
As silly as it may sound, I came to the realization that I have been in this rut after watching the last few episodes of Girls. That show
always ignited this sense of passion within me. It made me excited about my 20′s
and spending that time in Manhattan with best friends and new adventures and
romance and heartbreak and passion and wonder and love. I know that may sound
dumb, but I always had these high hopes for my time spent here.
Don’t get me wrong, living in Manhattan has been so worthwhile
thus far, but it’s just much too easy for me to get stuck in routines, lose
track of aspirations, and become bland.
Throughout high school and college I immersed myself in
people. I collected friends like trading cards and I used these friendships as
a protective blanket. I loved those times in my life. I loved those people I
met and the experiences I had. But this is the first time in almost 10 years
that I’ve felt devoid of this safety blanket and I’m still learning to navigate
without it. I think we all need to be reminded once in a while that loneliness
can be constructive though.
My point in this is that not every experience in life will
be a liberating high or a thought provoking low. Yes, it is much more moving to
express those two extremes, but the in-between can have just as much weight
too. Overlooking the in-betweens leads to immobility. That’s where I am at
It’s funny how different my productivity has become in just a couple short weeks. Let me explain.
I moved to Manhattan on September 6…..that was a little over a week ago. Since then, I feel extremely unproductive and lazy. In a way, I think I deserve it. Commuting really took a toll on me. But on the other hand, I am in the city I always DREAMED of living in and I’ve spent the past week glued to the couch in my free time!!!!! This is a very typical cycle for me to fall into…so I’m trying to nip the problem in the bud before it really starts to take a hold on me.
I always dreamed of living in New York as a kid because I imagined being surrounded by people that inspire my creativity. I imagined being literally mesmerized by the beauty and talent all around me. I definitely think that raw talent is everywhere here, but I think I am already choosing to overlook it and that terrifies me. I don’t want to ever become the stereotypical busy New Yorker rushing to and from work blinded by stress.
I think I need to make more of a conscious effort to spend time in public alone. And I need to spend that time taking in everyone around me and also WRITING.
I’ve been really bored at my job recently and I think that has a lot to do with my laziness too. It is no surprise that I am not exactly “doing what I love” at my current job. Many people don’t though! So in a sense, I am okay with that for now. But I can’t let that boredom spill over into every other aspect of my life.
I am going to try to spend at least one day a week, alone, writing. And I want to try to find a new place to visit every week. I think it will be a good challenge for me.
I once bought a book called 642 Things to Write About. Maybe I will take those prompts and write them on here every week.
Sorry this post wasn’t as deep or as dark as some of my other ones. I’ve just felt very stark and bland recently and I think it is showing through in my writing too. I need a lil inspiration ~y’all~
PLZ SEND SUGGESTIONS IF YOU’D LIKE. OR ASK ME QUESTIONS IF YOU WANT. I don’t even think people read this but hey, is there anything that inspires you?