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Moment Of Clarity

An Open Letter to Men Living on the Down Low

As we ate lunch one day, my friend asked me if I would still accept him if he was gay. “Of course, I would. Why … are you?” After the longest silence, he said that he was unsure. He had been with a number of men and found himself enjoying their company and their touch more than he did when he was with women – and he LOVED a lot of women.

I was the only person he told.

He believed that because I was a therapist and worked with people “like him,” I would be more understanding and supportive. What he was unaware of was that I would have supported him and tried to understand his experience because he was my friend — not because I was a therapist.

After we finished our lunch, we hugged and went our separate ways. That night I thought about what he shared with me, and how conflicted and confused he was about his dilemma. Then I thought about all of the men with whom I worked and wanted to share the following with them:

Dear men living on the down low,

I hope this letter finds you well and at peace or moving towards self-acceptance. I may not know your story, but I am familiar with your struggle and pain of living two lives.

Presenting one face publicly and another face in private can be exhausting. Living in a world where keeping secrets and telling lies becomes normal only adds to the confusion — and that confusion becomes normal, too.

Gradually, you begin to wonder about things like if people notice your body gestures and tone of voice changing, if they see you stare at another man the way you would a woman, or about your inability to stay erect when you’re with a woman.

Being GAY is the last thing you want to be. For as long as you could remember, you were supposed to like women — and being gay was something that sent you to hell and ostracized you from the world.

I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone and that you are loved. I know that you are afraid to even think about whether or not you are gay, let alone allow yourself to be gay, if that is true for you.

The fear you experience fuels your exhaustion and shame.  Fear prevents you from being honest with yourself and others. Fear is the reason you take risks that put you, your health, and the health of your wife or girlfriends in danger.

Psst, hey you … it’s OK if you’re gay and it’s OK if you’re not. It’s not everyone else in the world that you have to face … it’s you. People will always have something to say about what you do so you may as well live in your truth.

And, guess what? When you live your truth, something miraculous happens – you find love and peace.

What is YOUR truth?

Finding your truth isn’t an easy journey. It hurts a lot and you face a lot of demons, but you can do it because you are strong, so very strong. You are not alone and you don’t have to do this alone.

Some people find a seasoned therapist or a ‘light worker’ to help and walk with them on this part of your journey.  In case you’re wondering, light workers are very spiritual people who are committed to helping people find peace within themselves. Either way, get a referral from someone you trust or do a lot of homework before you make your decision about who to work with. As the saying goes, it’s easy to let someone in your head, but it’s very hard to get them out.

With love and light, I wish you pleasant and truthful journeys.

Jinnie

Jinnie Cristerna

Jinnie Cristerna, LCSW, CHt

Do you have a question for our “Moment of Clarity” JET Therapist, Jinnie? Email us at digitalpitches@ebony.com. We’ll be sure to keep it anonymous and confidential. 

Jinnie Cristerna, affectionately known as “The High Achievers Therapist”, works with talented people to help them release emotional pain and psychological roadblocks so they can achieve their personal and professional goals. Specializing in psychotherapy, heart centered hypnotherapy, vibrational energy, meditation, and personality development, Jinnie has a nearly 90 percent success rate with her clients.  Sign up for Jinnie’s High Achiever newsletter here or join her on Facebook and Twitter!