Saturday, August 1, 2009
It is gay pride weekend here in Vancouver and it offers yet another opportunity to reflect on what I am proud of and what pride means to me.
I am proud to be a runner. I love running and it is my passion. I have also worked very hard to be a good runner. I was not born a runner and it has not come easy. It seems almost every race or workout has caused me to contemplate quitting the workout or stepping to the curb. I have shed more tears about running then anything else in my life. The work, sacrifice and love have made me very proud to be a runner.
I am proud to be a good person. I am not perfect nor ever will be. What I strive for is to treat others with respect despite differences we may have and 'catch' myself when I start to judge. I do not respect those who hate, are ignorant by choice or those who judge others based solely on physical appearance. I do respect people who strive to achieve, those who have passion and care about human kind.
I am proud of my family. I was very fortunate to be raised by an extraordinary mother, who after the death of my father, maintained our family business enabling my siblings and I the opportunity to learn the value of a good work ethic. I did not want as a child and I was protected from the world in a rural environment. Although my family is not perfect, they try their hardest and we all care for each other.
I am proud of the people who I choose to surround myself with. I made a pledge to myself when I was younger to always be around people who I could learn from and who would make me a better person. I do not have a lot of friends, but the friends I have each teach me how to be a better more honest person in the different realms of my life. It was my friends, six years ago on Albert St. in Fredericton NB, who supported me and encouraged to say out loud 'I am gay'. My friends inspire me and teach me, and for that I am thankful and proud.
I am proud of the risk and the chances I have taken in my life. I have not taken the easy road and have had to make difficult decisions to get to where I am now. The biggest risk I ever took was packing my Jeep and driving 5 hours to the University of New Brunswick. When I look back now it seems like such a small move compared to driving across the country to Vancouver. I left the sheltered safe life I had always known. I said goodbye to what would have been a life with a house, vehicle in the yard and no concerns for money or security. Since the first risk of leaving my shelter in the country I have seen half the world, lived half a world away and moved to one of the most amazing cities on earth. Running is also fraught with risk. Every time I enter a new training period it is with a peak race in mind. All the hours and years of training are devoted to that race. Standing at the start line I face the biggest risk we all fear, the risk of failure. I am proud of the risks I take and will take in the future.
I am not proud to be gay. I do not feel that being gay is a license to be proud. One has to earn pride, one has to have a quality to be proud of, not a pre-existing condition. Just as I do not believe a child should get the same prize whether they are first or last, I do not believe we should be proud just because we are gay. I am proud of those in the community who have fought for equality and respect. I am proud of those who marched in the first gay pride parade, those who were not afraid to stand up to the heterosexist mainstream society and say, I am gay! When they came forward they had something to be proud of. They were taking a risk, they were striving for a better life with respect for each individual regardless of sexuality.
I am a runner. I try to be a good person. I try to be a good brother and son. I try to be a good friend. I am gay. I am proud of who I am.
This morning I did not run my usual Saturday track workout secondary to some right foot tendonitis. After Thursday's workout I was in pain so severe I was unable to sleep. I am not too alarmed by this pain as it is not unusual for me to have a slight flare up of tendonitis after a break from running. Rather then make the pain worse by running a hard track workout I decided to have a light run and do some speed play. I ran along the Sea Wall and on my favorite trails of Stanley Park. It was a great run because it was fun. I made up the workout as I went along and pretended to be different upcoming races. When on asphalt I was at Nationals road and when on the trails I was gunning for a spot on the world cross country team. I love my imagination sometimes. Any regular boring run instantly turns into the Olympics within the blink of an eye.
I am going to try be a little more gay tonight and hit the club for some dancing. Tomorrow's long run may be postponed as I will need to sleep and then watch the pride parade with some friends. I hope to meet some more people to be proud of.
at 2:01 PM