Tag Archives: Living in the present


Yesterday I had a drive out to the coast with my wife.

The sun was shining and the sky was blue and the fields were green, and the very trees begged to be noticed.

The quaint names of the villages as we drove through them provoked a deep awakening of summer glory, none more so than the name of Buttercrambe.

I exalt in the feeling deep in my soul, to recall the feelings of my childhood, when summer held for me a time of freedom,  a time of contentment, a time of happiness.

Those days seem very distant from my soul, and the simple pleasures of being a young boy seemed to be expressed in Buttercrambe, recalled in Buttercrambe and longed for in Buttercrambe.

I struggle to find a balance in my soul for an awakening of what it is like to be me, and the drive through Buttercrambe seemed to push me on, not just to the glory of the coast, but to a space to think, a space to rest, a space to watch and listen to the deep longings of my soul for peace.

At the coast, I gloried in the sunshine on my skin, rubbing in the oils to protect and nurture it from the burning rays which caressed my aging body and the grey hairs on my head.

I want so much to find within me the healing which would come from being able to be happy, like a young boy, like Buttercrambe, like the feeling I get from the sun on my skin.

I live a complicated life, at worst indecisive, at best courageous, loyal and true to those whom I love before all else, and at a great personal cost.

Perhaps, I hear them say, more often than I like to hear, that my reward will be in heaven – well maybe, but oh what I would give to be happy , just like you know… just like still wondering… just like I felt as I left Buttercrambe behind.

William Defoe

Uncut Hair

In recent years, I have visited a local salon on a four-weekly basis to keep my hair cut short.

In these times of lock-down I have not had an opportunity to have it cut, and it has grown to such an extent that the top of my head looks healthy with a wavy head of hair which is dark grey on the top of my head and light grey around the edges and at the back.

My wife made me laugh when she said it looked great, and that she actually preferred the longer style on me, however, she also told me that I looked like a badger!.

I have made it my mission to leave my hair uncut until the salon opens. I have overcome the temptation to acquire a set of clippers and cut it myself, so that my hair will be a physical representation of the restriction under which we are living in the days of the coronavirus.

To select a longer style, in stark contrast to my preference, is a challenging discipline to endure. To choose a longer style, in direct conflict to my preference for much shorter hair is an opportunity to harness my capacity to be different in the world.

To display a thick and colourful grey head of hair opens up an opportunity for me to be expansive, to tolerate the intolerable, to embrace the opposing ideals and ideas which are constantly raging within my soul.

Choices are difficult, because they inevitably forgo the alternative, and my choice to be married whilst innately being gay is a constant challenge which has seemed to get heavier with increasing age.

Exercises which help me to grow my mind and my spirit, help me to see the good I am trying to do, despite my own difficulties which causes me great suffering, I am able to see the wider intention to keep the promise which I made to my wife all those years ago.

Displaying one way, and longing for another has been the undulating rhythm of my life and now my uncut hair has for me become a physical representation of all that I have tried to be.

William Defoe


Union Jack

To mark the 75th anniversary of V.E. Day (Victory In Europe) which was celebrated in the UK on Friday 8th May 2020, I attached a new and vivid Union Jack flag to the front of my stone built barbecue in my garden.

It is held down by stones and in the unseasonably warm weather which we had over this Bank Holiday weekend, it stayed fixed in place as a mark of patriotism and gratitude to the men and women who died in World War 2 and to those who served and lived throughout those dark years which I was not born into.

Today, the weather is cooler and I noticed a light and blustery breeze lifting the flag and wafting it up into the air, occasionally landing back straight where I had placed it, but oft times pushing it back to land on the grill of the barbecue.

It seems to me that the flag needed a weight to hold it down, but perhaps it is best left to flutter and feel the force of the elements and be free to display its sharp and vivid colours of red, white and blue.

The fluttering flag in the breeze and the freedom which it signifies, from tyranny yes, but I am thinking more about the freedom to be blown about in the tumultuous air, made me ponder on my emotional life, which in any case I often do.

I seem to strive for a state of mind and a resolve which is fixed, and I feel disappointed when periods of calm seem to come to an end as abruptly as they started. Once again I am in a vortex of inner strife and fear which renders me with feelings of hurt, feelings of fear and a sense of failure for being so changeable in my mood.

Perhaps the flag, which I contemplated weighting down to suppress its glorious freedom, is a similar response to my emotional journey.

I think to myself, as I write to you in this post, that “Is it so bad after all to be carried into the air by the elements, to be flipped and turned and dropped back to the original starting point, only to be carried high on another wave of the breeze a few moments later?

To weigh myself down, to avoid the range of feelings and the sense of hopelessness in my feelings of anxiousness and occasional despair are parts of me which are as valid and true as those feelings I have when I am calm and content.

A drug might suppress them, or a permanent change in the direction of my life might have an impact to suppress the longings of my heart, but to numb the pain would be to deny myself the capacity to connect with the very essence of being me, and being me is the best I can ever hope to be.

William Defoe



Normality in the Midst of Turmoil

It is strange to me how sometimes there are moments of normality in the midst of turmoil.

Days will be spent in periods of silence following an explosion between us of anger and frustration.

We will avoid physical or sexual contact between us and yet, share information calmly about the lives of family members as they emerge on social media.

These moments are interspersed with occasional hand-holding or an act of generosity or kindness.

It is as if neither of us really wants to ultimately make a decision to end our marriage.

It is clear to me that the social distancing and isolation has thrown into sharp relief the ongoing power struggle between us which is destructive and painful and profoundly damaging to our health and well-being.

Both of us have been unwell, and feel unwell and know that this battle to control or to resist being controlled is wearing out our hearts.

If only the normal moments in the midst if this turmoil could be sustained.

If only we could declare our love for each other once again.

If only we could learn to forgive each other.

If only the trust could be restored once  more.

These longings occasionally win through into periods of normality, but for these to be sustained, we both of us will need to reach back into our stored treasures of intimacy and life, if we are ever going to feel safe and secure and loved by each other again.

William Defoe 

Easter On-line

I have been accessing the Easter services on-line this year.

The technology is amazing and the effort which priests have placed into their preparation for a voice-less response to their words has been fascinating to see.

I have felt at times, as if I have been going through the motions of it – sitting through the services so that I can say to myself that I have done so, but lacking inwardly the feelings of faith and experience which I would normally expect to feel at his time of Christ’s passion, death and resurrection.

My wife told me that the local bishop had asked the on-line faithful, to stand, kneel and sit at the appropriate times, to join in the responses – I just said to her that I would not do that.

Last night, as I watched the Easter Vigil with my arm around my wife, who sat with me, I felt stirred inside to join in the sung responses, and I connected with something deep in my own history when I heard my voice fluently, and quite beautifully (if i may say so) singing the Latin responses.

I felt connected back to my childhood as a young choir boy when boys rehearsed mid-week and attended in significant numbers the Sunday services.

I am a legacy to that time, my voice has maintained its rich quality, albeit as a tenor, rather than a soprano I hasten to add.

The feeling of connection was a passing moment, but it was enough to stir something deep inside me of the importance I place in all this religion stuff, which surprises me when I think about how overwhelmed I am by the inner turmoil and conflict which I suffer daily.

My faith is not a comfort to me, forgive me if this offends you, but it is integral to me, it cannot be separated or abandoned, and I think I understand now that regardless of my future path, this aspect of me will continue to prevail.

Easter blessings to you all, regardless of faith or none, we all belong to one human family in our diverse and different forms.

William Defoe


I’ve Peaked

Late in 2018, I missed out on the job I wanted due to some sloppy delivery, in some aspects of my interview.

It was an internal process and so I went out of my way to hide the hurt and to protect those whom needed my assurance that there was no hard feelings.

I think I carry a wound, as we all do, when we miss out on our ambitions, particularly when it would seem that I missed an open goal – it was mine for the taking and I fluffed it.

In the intervening period, I have worked hard to support the person who came into the organisation to be my manager.  She is good, I have no qualms at all with her professional qualities and her fears that I would be difficult evaporated immediately which she has kindly acknowledged.

Yesterday on the bank holiday, I worked for a few hours in the morning and I decided I would do so again on Monday. An opportunity to get things straight in my head without any interruptions whilst my team are on leave.

There is nothing unique in this approach, with someone holding the responsibilities I do and the generous salary and benefits which comes with it.

However, as I left my office, to go downstairs to join my wife for the late starting bank holiday weekend, my head warm with the mental exertion of the issues I had resolved, I was met with an onslaught of anger and frustration at my lack of commitment to her needs.

Jobs need doing in the house which have not been done, the lock-down is driving her crazy and I am not around to support her.

In her view, I am a failure because I need to work when others do not, I am not appreciated, I would be replaced in a flash if I died of coronavirus, and I am scared of my boss – and to boot all this has happened to me before remember!.

I held my head in my hands, to stop it falling off my neck, and I went into the garden to jet-wash the patio. The physicality of the action, and the warm outdoor air soothed my anguish and the repetitive strokes calmed my blood – (my response was my coaching in action).

When I got to bed last night, I felt unwell, my heart racing and my mind in turmoil as I tried to grapple with the question of whether I have a future in my marriage.

I know in professional terms, my career has peaked, I am unlikely to progress further, not because of my abilities, but because of the emotional wounds which I carry on top of the weight of the suppression of my gay truth.

I’ve peaked, but I do not have to slide, I’ve peaked and from this high place I should take the benefits from the visible horizon and pick out a path which will bring me peace.

William Defoe 

I Fell into the Canal Yesterday

In these strange times of coronavirus and self isolation, the Government has authorized one solitary daily exercise for us all so long as social distancing measures of two metres  are maintained.

As I set off on my daily run, alone yesterday, I had not gone so far when I tripped and fell on the side of the road. I was able to save myself from harm by directing my fall onto the grass verge on the side of the road.

The fall affected my pace and my mindset and for a period unsettled my thinking as I was required by self to take more care of my physical well-being, when my intention during my run is primarily to nurture my emotional well-being.

The route back to my start point was a long run along the beautiful canal which is local to my home. It was difficult to maintain the required social distancing requirement, as set out by the Government due to the narrowness of the paths in part.

I was constantly pulling in to the left by the wall or to the right by the edge of the water to allow other walkers and cyclists and runners and dog-walkers to pass by.

As I approached the end of my run, I noticed a young couple walking ahead of me, orientated to the left by the wall. I instinctively pulled out to the right by the grass verge on the canal-side edge and as I drew close behind them, I suddenly lost my footing and I slipped and fell onto the stony path.

As I fell, I felt my legs swung under me to the right down the edge of the verge with a force and momentum that I could not stop, so that my legs, lead by my feet entered the water in a bizarre fashion that resulted in me landing upright, on my feet up to my knees in the canal.

The young couple were alarmed, and I was shocked to say the least and the young girl came over to pull me out, but I politely declined and I appealed to her to maintain the social distance between us, for her sake.

I could not find anything on the ground to hold onto, to pull myself out of the canal and I struggled to get a footing on the steep-ish bank.

The young man came over, alarmed at my predicament, but I again appealed to him to maintain the social distance between us, for his sake.

Eventually I hauled myself out and managed to upright myself on the path. Some kind people called out to check that  I was alright. I thanked them for their kindness and assured them that I was ok, despite feeling shaken and upset and cut on my knees and hands.

I squelched along the path, but I noticed that the young couple had pulled aside to wait for me to pass them. I started to run, my rhythm seriously dented, and as I passed the couple I waved happily, feeling anything but happy, to assure them that I was ok.

In these times of pandemic, I experienced genuine care and support from those around me. This of course fell completely apart when I arrived home and news of my misfortune hit the family whats-app group resulting a sense of hilarity and story-telling which lasted the whole day through.

Take care

William Defoe



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


Longing to be Held

At the current time, I think we are all missing the occasional hug or kiss as we isolate ourselves to protect our families, our communities and our national health service.

I have longed to be held for many, many years and it just so happens that at this particular moment the need I have to be acknowledged is at its most acute.

I know that these feelings ebb and flow, but this current crisis of identity within my soul is severe because I have something to say to my wife and I cannot bring myself to say it.

The timing of my declaration does not feel right, and worse than that, my declaration requires from her a declaration in return, in which I am in no position to command of her.

I want to tell her that my need for the love and support of a man is enormous and yet, I can subjugate that need, even now at this darkest of hours, if she in return will promise to love and protect and acknowledge me for who I am.

I cannot thrive in an environment of emotional control which I have tried to do in recent months.

I need space and air and deep, deep understanding which allows my feelings for my own sex to be expressed in conversations and in silence which is mutual and clear between us.

I need to be able to cry, as does she, so that we can comfort and reassure each other that we are on this journey together and that we are fully invested in the needs of each other.

I have learned, rather late, that for this to be given any chance at all to work, we both need to act with integrity so that going forward all of it is open and true.

This means that in the harder moments, threats to leave her on my part, or threats to out me on hers, in the most damaging way imaginable are consigned to the past.

My longing to be held, is more than a need to be hugged, it is a need to be seen, to be understood, to be acknowledged and to be loved.

William Defoe

Be The Match

I have had a recent obsession with watching on YouTube emotional meet-ups between bone marrow and stem cell donors and the grateful recipients who are previously very sick children and adults who have been cured from blood cancers such as leukaemia and lymphoma.

Donors who gave a swab of saliva from their mouth, are called up often years later out of the blue, to be told they have the potential to save a life, often for people who live on the other side of the world.

The impact that this self-less giving has on the recipients and on their families is overwhelming and although life giving for the patient, it is also life enriching for the donor, who become connected by an incredible bond.

Under the rules of the process, they are not given information which would identify each other until at least one year after the procedure, and only then if both parties give their consent.

I think I am moved by the way in which the donor and recipient hold each other in a warm embrace which does not seem to end when they see each other for the first time.

I like the feeling I have when I see two people hold each other and when both are mutually committed to not being in a hurry to let go.

I give countless cursory hugs to family and friends, but it is a quick process which conveys to the person that they are cared for, and likewise I feel that too.

But to be held close, to be squeezed tight, to feel the weight of the other person so that their gratitude takes on a physical dimension to match their emotional weight is absolutely awesome to behold.

In those moments, being held by someone who shares your joy, or holds your pain, is to experience a feeling of rare gratitude that the deep well of suffering and endurance is measured by the body in terms of hope and love.

William Defoe

If you can, please sign up and “Be The Match”