Most people I know want me to be a certain way. When I grew up my mom and dad wanted me to believe in the same things they did. They wanted me to be tolerant with others, they wanted me to like art and Jazz music and they wanted me to put the family first. In school my teachers wanted me to understand the subjects they taught the same way they did. Very few of them encouraged creative thinking or that we came with our own views and answers. Most people who live in the same social structures want you to feel the same. E.g. people who believe in God want you to believe in God as well or people who don’t believe in God, want you to not believe in God just like them. Or people who like abstract art seldom hang out with people who like traditional art. In the past 53 years I spend a lot of time figuring out how the people I liked wanted me to be. Very often I used all my IQ to understand what they wanted and then I did the best to be like that. With 53 years doing my best I didn’t become better at it. Often I thought so much about how to be when around others that I completely froze and couldn’t say or do anything. People thought I was arrogant, shy or bored when around them. They never thought that I just tried so hard to do the right thing which made me feel so overwhelmed that I looked arrogant, bored or shy. When really I was just making things far too hard for myself.

I am glad that I found 2 people who I like very much – Jim Strole and Bernadeane – who are telling me in their very unique and different way, for over 20 years now, at least 2 times a week, that I am great and needed in my own unique way. And that there is no need to be like others especially not like them. This has been the best experience for me. For over 20 years now I am encouraged to feel myself, to say freely what I feel even if it is very different from what everyone else feels. This has given me the opportunity to experience an intimacy with others that I didn’t know possible. Bernie and Jim have become some of the people I am the most intimate with mostly because we dare to be ourselves and don’t try to make each other what we are not. I have so much every day intimacy with Otto – my boy friend and intimate partner for nearly 20 years now. I am so rich with being so personal now with most people I meet. Overall I learned how to enjoy myself and others especially because we are not the same. 

Now I want to encourage others to be all out with who they are. To dare to feel everything even if it’s different than their parents, boy friend, husband, wife, friends, collegues, etc.. For me it’s now the most exciting to be around people who feel freely who they are and who can freely express it. It makes people so interesting when they are themselves, so valuable! So fun to be with!

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