Category Archives: Uncategorized

An Earnest Question

This morning I asked my wife whether she remembered writing me a letter approximately 18 months ago in which she promised to love me again if only I would stop visiting places where homosexual men are known to gather.

At the time, I refused to do so, and I issued my own set of conditions if such a proposition was to be fulfilled.

In answer to my question, she acknowledged the letter and I asked her if she recalled the promises she had set out should her wishes be met.

I have met her conditions for the last eighteen months, but they have been the hardest months of my life. I am in constant anguish and my constant suffering feels like an illness  -not the fact of being gay, but the suppression of my identity and the requirement to live my life in a controlled manner.

My wife asked me an earnest question. How can I support you to be gay, How can I normalize it within our marriage?

My answer, please acknowledge it, don’t fear it, try to love me rather than attempt to control me.

Let me speak to those whom know my truth and  don’t feel fearful that here is something in those talks which are against you.

Laugh at me, laugh with me – point out the truth and hold me and show me that you are no longer afraid.

Draw me in to your circle of trust, nurse my wounds and I will repay you one hundredfold.

This earnest question feels like a turning point, not to a guaranteed life-long happiness, but to a moment of connection from which a clear choice has to be made by her in respect of whether she can drop her fear of me, and embrace my truth and become the soulmate for which I have longed for so long.

William Defoe

 

Raindrops In My Tea

Whenever I think of a title for a future post, I drop it down into the memo app on my mobile phone.

I came across this one, “Raindrops In My Tea” and despite knowing where I was when I wrote it down, and who I was with at the time, I cannot remember the context at all.

Perhaps it was a pique of despondency as we sat outside with a cup of tea and slice of cake, with my brother and sister-in-law, overlooking the cliffs and the sea of a local beauty spot.

The raindrops in my tea, signaled heavy rain and we all rushed with our drinks to stand with strangers under a canopy, as the raindrops fell heavily with a splash into my cup of tea.

Perhaps the churn on the surface of my drink appealed to my current state of anxiety and sense of foreboding in that moment of what was still to come.

A yearning, deep within, which had come to the surface, like the tea displaced by the splash of the rainwater, to momentarily leave its haven only to fall back again into the deep darkness of the depths of the cup.

But that moment of freedom is an opportunity to grow; an opportunity to breath free; an opportunity to feel weightless, and perhaps the rebound from re-entry will lift me higher to a point at which I can land outside the confines of the cup.

Rainwater in my tea speaks to me now of the potential to be free, despite the desolation of the circumstances.

Rainwater in my tea reminds me of the liberating effects of a tear cried out onto my face, akin to the splash into my cup.

My next blog will be: Summer Break

William Defoe

L’Omosessuale 2

I wanted to write further in respect of my previous post on L’Omosessuale.

The character of Carlo Piero Guercio refers to his imaginary conversations with a doctor.

He says “I know in advance that I will be called an invert, that I am in a strange way in love with myself, that I am sick and can be cured, that my mother is responsible………”

The concept of “being in love with myself” provoked within me a strong sense of confusion, uncertainty and disconcertion.

I often refer in my posts to having found a space in which I can love myself, to embrace all of what I am, and so I would say that before this time my suppressed feelings for my own sex were anything but being in love with myself.

Then there is the consideration that in some way, I am auto-sexual.

That is,  I look in the mirror and I feel a physical attraction to myself, and that if it was possible I would want to sleep with me, if I met myself in a bar (etc).

I have often given consideration as to whether my appearance might be a source of attraction to other men, but I think I am being honest when I say that I am not attracted to a type that looks like me.

If anything, my interests in men are indeterminate and at a deeper level they are concerned with fulfilling a need for a feeling of security, safety, strength and compassion.

I have this underlying concern that my feelings for men are in some way a form of narcissism.

I refute this in my mind because having considered its implications, my love of self  is contextualized in a very strong love and compassion and indeed sacrificial consideration for the needs and feelings of others when continuing to hold my truth to only a close circle.

Ultimately, Carlo Piero Guercio gives his life to protect a man he loves, that is not the actions of a man in love with himself, nor is my homosexuality an inverted narcissism which is concerned with self alone.

It is a reality into which I have constantly striven to be a source of strength and love for others, and it is perhaps the greatest source of the compassion and empathy which I bring to the world.

My next blog will be: Above the Clouds

William Defoe

It’s My Life

I have been drawn to the words of the latest song of artist Robbie Williams, in which he sings: –

“I love my life – I am powerful, I am beautiful, I am free”

His words seem to me, to be from a place where he has arrived at recently in his life.

He acknowledges the difficulties of the past and of the difficulties still to come, and yet, despite these, he is simply and beautifully telling us that : –

“I love my life – I am wonderful, I am magical, I am me”

The words of this song, which from time to time I sing along to in the bath, or in the car, or whilst out running, are also about me, and when you sing them quietly in your head or out loud, they are about you too.

The translation of the lyrics from this talented performer and singer, are immediate, the minute we join in, and they are true, because our very humanity, our very essence of being alive makes these words something we too can own, believe in and accept.

The last line of his song is:-

“I’m where I want to be”

Robbie Williams seems very happy and in love, from what I read of him in the papers, but this statement of his is possibly not just about his domestic happiness. Perhaps it is simply that he is fully aware and deeply connected with his sense of self and his place in the world, at peace with the past, and prepared for whatever comes.

These are aspirations which I continue to strive for in my own life, which are a reflection of living a life in the present, of living a life in deep conversation with the soul, and reflecting my self-hood with confidence in the world.

My next blog will be: Strong Parfum

William Defoe

 

 

A Helping Hand

Yesterday, I was very surprised when a woman thrust out her hand to assist me as I climbed down a small wall to join a line of runners at the start of my local Parkrun.

A helping hand which was unsought, but generous and kind and thoughtful in its gesture of connection, its gesture of care, its gesture of giving.

I took her hand and she briefly took some of my weight upon herself.

At the moment I stepped down from the small embankment; at the moment between leaving and arriving which was so brief, I felt humbled and grateful by her example of generosity and care.

As I stood in the line, waiting for the race to start, my mind insisted on pondering over the importance of a gesture between strangers; the importance of connecting with each other; the importance of recognising the need in another, even when it is not sought or asked for; the importance of  giving a helping hand.

My next blog will be: Clean Underwear

William Defoe

German Guests

We had some German Guests stay at our home with us, for a short period, over the New Year.

We did what we could to make these young people feel very welcome by putting a welcome sign up at the door, and decorating the entrance hall to our home with intertwined German and UK Flags.

I don’t speak German, but I prepared a few phrases of welcome (in German) and I offered to take them out for lunch the following day (in German) as well as telling them (in German) not to worry about anything – leave what you do not like (food) etc

It was a delight to see the smile of recognition and appreciation in their smiles and in their eyes.

The following day, whilst walking with them at a local beauty spot, which they had asked to see, I said again what a privilege it was to welcome them to our home.

One of the young people said, but we are only human, same as you.

Ah, I replied, but it is important that we show our guests from a foreign country  how special it is for us to have them with us in our home.

You see, I wanted my German Guests (who are friends of my adult child) to know that our connection with them is important, and what an honour it was to share our home with them.

So, as the Queen said in her Christmas broadcast, if we do the seemingly little things to change our world to make it a fairer, warmer, safer and brighter place, we have done our bit in these challenging times.

My next blog will be:  Pulling Out into Traffic

William Defoe

No Photograph Taken

A few weeks ago, during a short break in October, I visited Whitby.

Although I was with my family, I had an opportunity to walk alone up the 200 steps to Whitby Abbey.

The few moments which I had alone, in that  truly beautiful spot, were an opportunity for me to just be; to just be with it; to just be with self.

As I made my way back to the top of the steps to descend them again, to meet up for a meal with my family, I paused and I admired the view.

As I stood there, several people stopped close by to take photographs of the spectacular view of the coast from this high vantage point.

I had my camera with me, but for me no photograph was taken.

I simply felt the need to be in it; to be part of it; to be close to it; and for me, this was best experienced in my wounded heart, which in that moment felt a sense of healing and a sense of hope; a sense of acceptance and a sense of my truth, and I was calm.

True, I have visited Whitby before, and I will do so again, but the place from which no photograph was taken, at the top of the steps to the abbey, looking out to sea is a memory etched now, all these weeks later, on my mind and heart.

For me, as I journey through a complicated set of emotions, I am learning that the best memories are the ones where I have created a space to take notice; created a space to pray and think; created a space to be calm.

My next blog will be: Malta

William Defoe

An Olive

Last week, whilst out Christmas shopping  with my wife, we had a break from the shops and sat down to eat lunch in a newly opened Portuguese restaurant in my home city.

As we waited for out food to be served, the waiter brought over a complimentary bowl of olives.

I do not like olives!

I tried one, though!

The moment the olive entered my mouth, I knew I had made a mistake and that it was going to be impossible for me to swallow it.

As I fussed around me for the corner of a napkin in which I intended to eject the olive from my mouth,  two things happened in close succession.

First, my wife ordered me to swallow it, no doubt to save me from the indignity of removing the olive from my mouth, and no doubt so save herself from the indignity of watching me do so!

Second, the taste which I so dislike, took hold in my mouth, and made the experience all the more wretched.

The olive was propelled with speed into my napkin, rolled up and placed in my pocket for later disposal.

In these brief moments I had experienced:-

Generosity – the complimentary gift of olives from the waiter;

Temptation – I don’t like olives but I will try one anyway;

Repulsion – I don’t like olives!;

Judgement – my wife telling me to swallow the olive;

Independence – making it clear that despite her request, this olive was not going further than my mouth;

Restraint – discreet ejection of olive into napkin

Relief – water washing away all remaining lingering taste of the salty olive;

Joy – having lunch with my wife in a new restaurant in my home city;

Culture – a taste of Portugal in my own back yard.

No matter, how long the moment, life is calling out to be noticed.

I make every effort to notice mine  – don’t let yours pass you by

My next blog will be :- Vomiting

William Defoe

 

 

 

 

 

Head, Heart and Soul

The UK Prime Minister said as he resigned after the UK EU Referendum result that he had put his Head, Heart and Soul into his campaign for the UK to remain in the EU.

I was struck by his reference to Head, Heart and Soul and how he had aligned these elements of self behind his belief in the UK remaining in the EU, because I had struggled as I listened to the arguments to align all three.

My head was saying that we would be stronger and safer in the EU and that the peace and prosperity of the whole continent would be better served by our continued membership.

My heart was saying that we should seize this opportunity to escape this undemocratic, unaccountable institution which was hell bent on a European superstate which I utterly oppose.

So what is soul?

For me, and I suspect for David Cameron, and indeed all of us, the soul  is the connective which links the logic of the head and the emotion of the heart.

The soul is ultimately the deciding factor in the choices which we ultimately make in our decisions.

Some people will pray for guidance as they search to make a reasoned choice, a choice which fulfills their deepest truth to the issue at hand.

Others will reflect and listen to their inner voice as they process the arguments made from both sides of the argument.

I found that it was hard for me to align Head, Heart and Soul.

My emotional response to Brexit was the strongest emotion, and yet as the time of the vote became nearer and nearer, the logic of my head disturbed my sleep and made me feel anxious as the two opposing tensions within self called me from within to be heard.

My soul was at last satisfied when I considered the opinions of my adult children who all wanted the UK to remain in the EU.

My soul latched onto a wider family perspective and gave me an opportunity to show myself attune to their aspirations.

As I walked from the polling booth, having voted to Remain in the EU, my Head, Heart and Soul were aligned, my inner voice and truth had been heard.

The supremacy of an emotional response to my needs, which has been such a destructive feature of my life in the past , was heard in the wider context of my whole truth.

My next blog will be: Cucumber

William Defoe

 

 

Emotional Well-being

In a week in which I read that a 39 year old Belgian man wants to claim his legal right to euthanasia because he cannot accept his gay sexuality, I felt that it was right to reflect on the importance of emotional well-being.

I have only recently begun to understand, that my own suffering over the same inability to accept my gay sexuality in the past, was a  reflection that my emotional needs were not being met.

It is not that my emotional needs were necessarily the responsibility of someone else – say my parents, or siblings or my wife and children or my friends and colleagues, but for many years, I think that this is what I expected from them.

My inner narrative used to be:

“I am hurting, I can’t tell you why, and although I am often angry, stressed, irrational, and hurtful, I still need you to make me feel loved, I still need you to show me that you care no matter what”

I have come to realise that my emotional well-being is my own responsibility, but what is emotional well-being?

The UK Department of Health in 2011 said that well being is:

“a positive state of mind and body, feeling safe and able to cope, with a sense of connection with people, communities and the wider environment”

For me it is the glue, the life blood of my human and spiritual existence.

It encompasses my physical and sexual needs, my mental needs and also my social and religious needs.

My emotional well-being depends on my capacity and ability to feel motivated to look after and protect; and also project, who I am in the world without fear.

It’s essence comes from within, through my thoughts and feelings which arise within my head, but which are manifest in my body which sustains my life.

I recognise now, that before I began my intimate relationship with my inner voice and accepted my inner truth and learned to recognise it and love it, that I had given over to others, the responsibility to carry my emotional well-being for me.

When we love other people, we are prepared to do that for them, at times of crisis and bereavement and disappointment  – that is quite a straightforward human response which people are generally prepared to give.

When it is given over for many years, as it was in my life, for many people to carry for me, I recognise now that their generosity and love has been heroic.

A mature emotional well-being is achieved through:

  • being connected, through talking and listening
  • being active, through doing and enjoying and shifting your mood
  • taking notice of the things which give you joy
  • keep learning – surprise yourself in acquiring new skills and interests and developing and maintaining your old ones
  • giving your time, giving your presence, giving your words

yes, giving your words, and these have been mine!.

My next blog will be: Faith and Space

William Defoe