This June, I’m celebrating Pride- in more ways than one.
The history of the LGBT community- with all its battles and victories, its highs and lows, its setbacks and accomplishments- and the fight for a more inclusive and accepting future are spotlighted the whole month.
I came out almost four years ago- although I knew I was gay since I was a young kid- and, sadly, I can’t claim to be the proud gay man I thought I would be, that I want to be. The blame is all on me. I am throwing away the absurd idea that there’s a handbook that explains everything I’d need to be gay. I’m going to figure it out- at least, my definition and vision of it. And, in order for me to do that, I need to have pride in myself. And, I don’t mean pride in just that (being gay) but as a human being.
So, Pride is my focus for the month. As you may know by now if you’re reading this, I love setting up monthly challenges. It’s been awhile since I did one and actually followed it through completion. One of the things that kept me from doing so is that the challenges or goals I’ve set up were too vague. A true goal needs to be quantifiable or measured in a way to know if it was accomplished or not.
My intention is not to be all up in people’s faces about being gay but I also don’t want to be ashamed of such a large important aspect of what makes me who I am. I’m excited that I’ll be attending my first Pride parade here in Portland. I’ll just be watching it since I’ll feel like such a hypocrite if I decide to march in it when I’m not as proud as I can be about who I am- yet.
On the other hand, I do feel that visibility (even within the small circle of people who know me) is important. Even I need to remind myself that within the LGBT community, there’s a whole spectrum of identities. We don’t all fit into one mold.
-Read books and watch films tackling LGBT issues and history.
-Read books by LGBT authors. These will be featured on The Chronicles Of A Children’s Book Writer.
-Showcase a video of the LGBT community throughout the month.
-Attend Pride Parade June 19th.
It’s kind of mind-boggling that I’ve changed from being the guy who was able to save $10000 for his move to Portland about 8 years ago to having over $13000 in credit card debt especially when I don’t even have student loans or medical bills to pay. It’s definitely excessive spending on inessential items (eating and drinking out, entertainment*, vacations*), and various hang-ups** I have about money that has led me to this point. I was debating whether to share how much I owed but ultimately I felt it was a necessary first step (acknowledging it) in working towards the solution. Plus, I’m not going to let the number define me whether I’m a good or bad person. I made some poor money choices and I’m going to turn that around.
-Use coins saved towards paying off debt. This may sound controversial since I originally intended to use these to donate but I’ll feel better about giving to others when I know I’m somewhat more financially secure. Plus, I did give the first bowlful to DonorsChoose and I can pick it up again after summer.
-Use cash only.
-Find other ways to save money.
-Limit myself to eating out by myself once a week.
-Start saving for Vegas trip in October.
-At least 2 No Spending Days a week.
*One can argue we shouldn’t deprive ourselves too much of what makes us happy- like seeing a play with friends or getting to see family- but everything in moderation as they say.
**A couple examples of this are trying to impress people by paying for everything and feeling indebted to others when they hang out with me.
Pride in oneself requires self-care. It sounds selfish but it isn’t. It’s not the same as being self-centered. When you take care of yourself, you’re in much better position to help others.
-Acknowledge 3 good things about myself every day. I’ve done challenges in which I’ve shared what and who I’m grateful for but I feel it’s time I give myself credit when I do good things.
-Continue walking for at least 30 minutes every day.
-Get plenty of sleep even if it means turning that darn cell phone off at 11pm every night.
-No candy, ice cream, pastries, or sweet treats unless it’s a special occasion.
-Limit myself to 1 Frappuccino and 1 Thai Iced Tea a week.
-Say Thank You when someone compliments me and accept offers when it'll make my life easier. Stop deflecting.
-Have a total of 100 volunteer hours by the end of the year. I know I said I wouldn’t be chasing hours but I feel it’s a manageable goal now that I have a regular volunteering gig again and still a stretch since I’ll have to find other opportunities to make up the difference. And my life is so much fuller when I make time to help others.
-Create a different mindset when dealing with non-paying customers in the store. This has become a serious issue for me and I can tell it’s affecting my moods and ability to do my job.
I’m trying to apply the following principle into my life: Make time for the things that are important to you.
-Instead of coming up with new ideas, flesh out the ones I’ve already come up with.
-Set up Writer Hour every day to work on stories (and not blogging) and an extra hour on days off plus an extra hour throughout the week to read up on the craft.
If I have pride in myself, I won’t be too harsh on myself when I make a mistake or be too caught up in being perfect.
If I have pride in myself, I won’t overindulge in eating and spending so much.
If I have pride in myself, I will be more confident in meeting new people.
If I have pride in myself, I’ll be able to help others more and better.