Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man's World



Changing from my usual format, I wanted to write about my personal experiences of growing up as a gay man in California, and some of the challenges that arose with that and how my story, though may be vastly different from most, may in turn help another going through coming out, or questioning his or her sexuality.  First and foremost, this isn't the forum to debate the following: "gay as a choice or gay as born this way" "the morality of gays" "what the bible has to say" or another personal belief.  So please respect me, and my blog by keeping this commentary either to yourself, or message me privately and any of my social media outlets.  Thank you.  The purpose of this post is to just share about my personal experiences and to encourage and support others.



Growing Up

At a young age, I knew I was different - and by different, yes, I mean I knew I was attracted to the same gender.  I found something very alluring about the male physique and also felt a deeper connection with certain friends that I didn't find in the opposite sex.  I knew from about age 6 or 7, maybe even before then, but it wasn't prevalent until around 4th Grade.  At this age my interests were different from most boys my age, and my mannerisms were also quite different.  I enjoyed spending more time with my grandmother, and could careless about sports, cars, or anything that most of the boys my age would occupy time with.  When it came to how I acted, I was sensitive, emotional and clingy as a child.   I even recall teachers meeting with my grandparents about my sensitivity level, and how I needed to "toughen up".  I recall my first experience noticing I had feelings other than normal amiable friendship feelings towards boys on a bus ride when I was in the 3rd Grade.  I sat with a kid of whom was also portrayed as different from the rest of the boys, and he was being ridiculed and called a "sissy" by other classmates.  I chose to sit with him and ask him how he was doing and what TV shows he liked to watch.  I remember him explicitly saying, "I like you" and kissing me on the cheek.  I felt embarrassed in that moment and didn't know how to react, so I moved to another seat, my face beat red.  This moment in time is one that I never discussed with anyone, because being so young, and also witnessing how people would draw so much emphasis on boy and girl relationships and one day getting a girlfriend, I didn't want to be outcasted or called sissy by the other kids in school, so I retreated.  I remember feeling that day, how nice it felt to have someone say that they liked me.  It's something that even to this day, I remember this so much because it was the first time I felt a genuine sense of who my authentic self was.  It was liberating and scary all at once.  This day is also the day that I realized that other's opinions, at the time, were very important to me.   After that day, I didn't see that boy in the bus again, and I have no idea what happened to him.  I do recall the ridicule was pretty intense for that age, and he may have been transferred to another class, I do not quite know.  

Home Life

Home life for me, was very normal as a child.  Well, as normal as it could be, being raised by my grandparents.  However, for the longest time, even at home, I felt like certain feelings I could not share.  Being that both my uncles would live with us from time to time, I remember there being such an emphasis on being manly, and one day growing up to have a girlfriend, and ultimately a wife.  I felt that masculinity was very important in the household.   And with this overtone being in the air, I felt like a huge disappointment to the men in the family.  My brothers enjoyed working on cars, playing sports and doing "normal" boy things and I felt like they always wanted to participate when my uncles and Grandfather would work on the cars, etc.  And here I was playing Xena the Warrior Princess and Power Rangers on my own or with neighbor friends.  

High School & Coming Out

In high school, and middle school, I felt even more of a disappointment when I took a liking towards gymnastics and cheerleading.  I felt this was the final nail in the coffin for them questioning what outcome this was going to lead to.  There is a stigma that cheerleaders and gymnasts are all gay.  Which though there are many who are, this isn't completely true.   For many years I would defend myself as not being gay, because at that age I wasn't sure what I was, but I knew I had to defend the honor and integrity of the sport (but now looking back, I'm like why does sexuality and sport have anything to do with one another).  I tried dating girls, and found that though it was pleasant, I wanted nothing more than friendships with females and felt anxiety about the feelings of forcing myself to do something because it was the socially accepted way of doing things.

So when did it all change?  Well, it was the Spring of 2004 when I met a cuban guy named Sunel, who was on Van Nuys High School Cheer, and he would attend practices at the same location of my all star cheerleading gym. He admitted a crush on me, and though flattered, I turned him down.  Then that night I went home and could not get the thought of, "how could he do that and why would he think I am gay? Do I look gay? Are boys attracted to me?"  and I pondered this the whole night.  It ate at me, and I remember the year before when I started having conflicting feelings about men and woman, that I made a pact with myself.  I would not pursue a sexual relationship with a man, without first, sleeping with a woman.  And I remember even praying to God to let me fight the urge of my "gay thoughts".  This obviously didn't happen.  The next day I called Sunel and told him that I would be interested in seeing where things would go, but I cannot promise anything.  This led to us hanging out, kissing, and from that point forward dating.  

Almost instantaneously, I came out to my friends and those closest to me, my cheer coaches and team.  To some it was a shock, and to others it was an "I told you so" moment in time.  

The hardest part for me was coming out to family, which I go in to full detail in a YouTube video.  Which I will link below, in interest of time and to avoid excessive repetition.   Just know with this that is does get better, for most.  And if it by any chance doesn't when it comes to family, then realize those who love you in this life, are your true family.  And if you need me, I'll be there.  



Fast Forward To Current Times.

My life now is vastly different, and the social stigmas aren't felt as deeply.  Yet we are not out of the hot water, and the horizon isn't always clear.  In my short time on this earth I have seen the negative, nastiness that humans can inflict upon each other.  And my message is this, please have understanding for others, and an open mind.  Just as you cannot change or choose your race or genetic makeup, do not assume that LGBTQ+ people can choose their sexuality.   To this day I hear men casually joke "that's so gay" or "what a fag" when describing or offending others and I need people to understand that this is not okay.  It's truly hurtful, and it could damage those around you who may be struggling with sexuality.  Be kind to others and end bullying, or at least have a voice and stand up for each other.  Teen suicides are increasing year by year, and many of which are apart of the LGBTQ+ community.  Most could be avoided if these kids were not made to feel like they weren't loved or accepted.  My message is also to the LGBTQ+ community.  Please accept one another, and to not transfer hateful messages on to one another.  We are all we have in this world and community is extremely important.  Before the world can change, we need to change.  Before the world can love us, we need to love each other.  Please stand with your LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters and instead of focusing on body image, cliques, social status, dating apps, or whatever fixations that separate us; take the time to get to know each other and support each other.  A Pride month is great, and a Pride festival is good and fun, but it's not enough.  Spread love and open up to one another.  Make your heart the home of your LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters.  I vow from this day forward to be more open minded to others and to put their thought and feelings in to account.   If you or someone you love is struggling with identity, or feeling accepted, please note that I will always be here to support them in any way I can.  My contact info is in the bar to the right of this post.  Thank you all for reading my ramblings, and I appreciate your time invested in supporting me and my blog.   

Until next time.

XoXo
Gary



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Saturday, August 19, 2017

Live Each Day Fully & Spread Love


To address the state of the world at the moment, with hate being perpetuated at every corner, I wanted to deviate from my normal blog style to just remind everyone to cherish those they love and live each day fully.  We cannot control the evils in this world, but we can do is not let evil have power over us. We should grieve for those lost in senseless attacks, and learn from each situation that arises.  Let go of prejudices and hate for one another, and just focus our hearts on love and compassion.  Without evil there could be no good, and all things in nature work in balance, so with that in mind, please do your part in ensuring that balance is achieved.

The media as of late has only been the bearers of bad news daily, and it is our responsibility as the human race to rectify the sins of the past and live in the moment, and in this moment, I personally am committing to love and compassion for my fellow man.  We need to really look deeper within ourselves and question, "why are we doing this to our self?"  What benefit is there to hate, racism, oppression.  The answer lies in supremacy, greed, personal interests of those in power.  We may not have the power to stop them at this time, but we can choose to not let that same hate consume us.  Don't give in to the anger and revenge feelings that are so natural to us, because this would not solve a thing.  Instead focus on ways you can make a positive change in the lives of others, help where you can and love each other.  Our time on this world is so short, and so trivial in the grand scheme of things.  We cannot waste time, especially in the modern era, with hating one another.

The world is a messed up place that needs to be healed, but each revolution began with a single voice, and a single action.  So please do your part in bettering this world.  I choose love, compassion, awareness, and will fight back by not letting hate and revenge consume my thoughts and actions.  This is not to say that we shouldn't take action to stop those perpetuating hate and evil, but we cannot focus on revenge.  Each day we wake is a blessing, we never know how much time we have, appreciate the Earth and all of its inhabitants and stop this senseless acts of evil.  We are one blood, one flesh, one force.  Stay connected.

Until next time.

Xoxo
Gary


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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Get To Know Me | Video Blog



New video is up and live.  Today we are getting to know me.  Please like, subscribe, comment and thumbs up.  I hope this allows you to get to know me a bit better and I look forward to blogging with you more soon.  Hope everyone is having the best day! <3 I appreciate you.

Xoxo

Gary Brink

Follow me on insta @ iamgarybrink
Snapchat: Gbrink1

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Saturday, August 12, 2017

Happy Weekend!



Have a happy and safe weekend everyone! I will be working on some new content, so stay posted.  Be safe, love one another, and don't forget to smile!

Be well everyone.

Xoxo,
Gary.
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Follow Up To My Serums Post, A Simplified Overview


Hey guys, how's it going?  It's been a few weeks since my last blog post and I apologize for the mini hiatus.  At work, we had a very cumbersome an long promotion, which tied up all of my energies for a few weeks; however, it is now over and on to fall season!   I love the fall, the weather becomes beautiful, the skies slightly orange and grey, and all the latest and greatest innovations in skincare are revealed.  Shortly, I will do a post on some fall favorites; yet, today I thought we should dive in to serums again.  Gary, really? Serums? Again? Why?!  Well, the answer is, I feel like serums are still underused and undervalued and today I am hoping to convince all you, cream only ladies and gents, to invest in your skin a little bit more and start focusing on repair and treatment.  

What is a serum? How do the benefits differ?

A serum is typically a more fluid like skincare product, which essentially, due to it's lower molecular weight and volume, has the potential to hold and deliver more active ingredients in a more efficient and direct manner.  So in plain American english: it delivers results, quicker, faster, and more effectively.  Serums are highly concentrated fluids.  The best serums will be a bit more on the watery side and will be air tight, or in special packages that shield them from air and light.  

Serums are more nutrient rich and have a lower viscosity- consistency in normal english- than their moisturizer counterparts.  They are molecularly smaller and therefore, it is more possible to create an intensive concentration of active ingredients, which can penetrate the skin deeper. 

Benefits?

These are your treatment products, they are your retinols, your HA (hyaluronic acid), your Vitamin C, etc.  These are what you buy skincare for!

If they are so good, why moisturize?

It's not an either or situation, but an AND.  The serum supports the moisturizer.  Because the serums can hold all the concentrated actives, they do what your moisturizer cannot and your moisturizer in turn can provide more nourishment that the serum can't, due to their molecular weights and consistencies. Moisturizers treat skin type and serums treat skin conditions.  If you think of this way, it'll make your life and buying decisions easier.


So Luxury Cream or High Performance Luxury Serum?

This all depends on budget and concern.  If you are able to afford luxury products like handbags and designer shoes, and are circle three and above at Bergdorf or Neiman Marcus, then girl, get both.  But if you are budget conscious and need to decide which to do.  I always spend in the serum.  Why?  Well look at the above descriptors, because I am treating my skin condition.  What condition is your skin in? Is it compromised, dehydrated, uneven, lined, less firm, sagging, breaking out.  Treat here first, and then move on to skin type.  Skin type would constitute: dry, dehydrated (repeat of condition), oily, all of the above, combination.  

If you cannot afford luxury either, then buy the top end of what you can afford.  Don't skimp on skincare, treat your skin at all forefronts, and if treatment is built in to the mositurizer and you have beautiful skin, then just use that one product.  But if you're like the rest of us that micromanage our skin, then treat it all forefronts!


Why Lauder, Since You Work For Them You Must Be Biased?

Not completely true.  I do work for them in my working hours, but as I write this blog, I write to you as Gary Brink, not as a Lauder employee.  I choose Lauder because they started the serum category, have worldwide patents, top scientists working on their products, and own and operate the best laboratories and brands out there.  Most brands, no surprise, are part of the Estee Lauder or L'oreal group - at least the well known ones - and therefore, I trust the science, experience and reputation of these global brands that have loyal followings and reputations the whole world over.  

But like I said previously, Estee Lauder began the serum category with Night Repair.  And to this day Advanced Night Repair is the top selling serum in the United States, and I can see why! It truly changes the way skin behaves and helps repair damage from the past caused by environment and lack of sleep.  It's in a class of it's own, uber hydrating and just so so pleasant and plays well with retinols and vitamin C products.  So it truly is universal.  

I trust them, plain and simple, and they work well for my skin type, condition and concerns.  Plus I have been using Night Repair since I was 18 years old and at 30, I still feel like I look younger than my age. So thank you genetics, partially (I say this because some in my family don't look as young as you would think) and, thank you Estee Lauder, for selling quality, high performance product.

I also use plenty of other brands including: Dr. Dennis Gross, Kate Somerville, Clinique (a Lauder brand), Pixi, Clarins, and Sisley.  I feature Lauder the most, because it just makes my skin feel amazing!

I feel like a lot of luxury products are good, and feel great, but Estee Lauder products also make my skin act and respond great, and if any skincare can do that for you, then stick with it.  So for me, I'm a lifer, until further notice.  


How do I use it, layer it?

Cleanse your skin, tone or exfoliate as needed then apply your serum and moisture cream or oil.  The best way to layer is consistency of product.  The thinner or more fluid, then this hits skin first.  So if you use an essence like SKII or Micro Essence from Estee Lauder then hit this before serum.  So happy layering and comment below with any questions that may arise.  

I will follow this up with a part 2 as questions and comments come thru.  Until then, Happy WEEKEND everyone and thank you for reading!  

XoXo
Gary 




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