So, Ive started a food/cooking blog. (Here's the address.) Why is a 50-something man who has never cooked much his entire life writing a blog about food and cooking? And, while we're at it, why is a 50-something man bothering to learn how to cook?
The answer, I think, is attributable to one primary fact: I am gay, but I spent all of my life in the closet until a few years ago. I was married to a woman for over 20 years, and I have ten children. My former wife liked to cook and is pretty good at it, so I never bothered to learn to cook. Besides, I was too busy earning a living for my family.
Living in the closet not only hid my natural sexual orientation, it also buried a lot of my interests and natural inclinations. Coming out is, at least in part, about rediscovering who one truly is and allowing oneself to express personal interests without fear of being suspected of being gay. I decorated our house at Christmas for 20+ years (as did my dad, actually). I kept waiting for the whispers around the ward to start about Brother Broom's penchant for decorating.
About a year after I came out, I met a wonderful man who is now my husband. Mark has played a key role in my evolution as the closet gets further away in my rearview mirror. He has challenged me to do new things, things I never thought I could do. Such as becoming a cyclist who has now cycled thousands of miles in France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Corsica (not to mention in Utah, Colorado, California and Oregon) and picking up skiing after a 30-year hiatus.
During the last three years, I have also challenged myself to:
- join a men’s choir after not singing for over 30 years
- start several blogs, awakening a talent for writing that had been buried for over 30 years,
- become a different and better father, and
- live my life authentically.
Now, a new challenge: learning how to cook and to better appreciate food. Taking up this challenge requires me to analyze and reject (in some cases) previous perceptions of myself – both those created by me as well as those created by others. For many years, I told myself I couldn’t cook or didn’t like to cook. Others told me the same thing. Now, however, I am ready to reject labels applied by myself and others and to approach cooking and food in my own way, not someone else’s.
The Creative Journey
So, I have issued myself a personal challenge. What about the blog? First, I love to write. Second, I needed the discipline that writing a blog provides in order to meet my challenge. And you know what? I love feeling creative. It touches the part of me that was in the closet the longest.
I have no idea where this adventure will lead. But I’m certain it will be just that: an adventure. A creative one.