Before I begin my first post of 2011, I must first wish a Happy Birthday to my mom. Yes, she was born on New Year’s and, as a result, it’s almost impossible to forget her birthday. Happy Birthday and I love you!!
In the About Me section on the sidebar, I mention that Evan is not my real name, and I believe I very briefly mentioned why I chose this name in an early post. In the past month, more people who know me in real life have begun to read my blog and I have plans to expand my readership. That is why at this point I have decided to tell everyone my real name. My name is Asa Goldman, but apart from my name, everything I have told you about myself thus far is accurate. I won’t really be divulging many more details about my personal life than I already do, as some things must always remain private. I also now have several family members who are aware of this blog and I need to respect their privacy as well. So why am I doing this? I have told my new readers beforehand that I use a pseudonym, so why would I take this extra step? The reasons for that decision are the topics of this post. But before I get on to that, I would like you all to know that, for the purposes of blogging, I plan at this time to continue using the name of Evan here and on other blogs where I comment, for the sake of clarity and continuity. Feel free to continue addressing me as Evan, but if some of you feel more comfortable using my real name, that is fine as well.
This has a lot to do with the way in which I chose to come out and my discovery of this online community. I first stumbled across Amar’s World in April at a time when I was finally beginning to accept that I was gay. I was still not out to anyone at this time. I was hooked on the blog instantly and read it for a month before I had the courage to post a comment for the first time. Now as you now know, my name is rather distinctive so I was afraid that, if I used my real name when commenting, someone might stumble across these comments and recognize me, because there really aren’t that many people named Asa. So I decided to use the name Evan, after a family friend, the only person around my age I knew who was openly gay at the time. I’m sure that I’ve mentioned this before but reading Amar’s blog gave me more reassurance and the courage to start coming out. In June I began by telling my parents and, shortly thereafter, I decided to start my own blog. As I continued to develop the blog and do more online, including continuing to comment on Amar’s World and other blogs, I began to notice something. The first thing is that I found a community where I can truly be myself, where being gay is just part of existence - neither a negative nor an obsession. This community feeling, combined with the development of my writing showed my that, while I try very hard to remain true to myself in my writing, there were two distinct identities forming within myself. First there is Asa, the person I am in real life. I have always been very shy and quiet, and ill at ease in social situations. I say very little, especially if I am in a group or I don’t know the person I’m conversing with well. I have noticed that “Evan” is different. While Evan is still not especially outgoing and does tend to be very deliberative when it comes to social interaction, there is a lot more assertiveness present and he is far more likely to say what is on his mind. Now obviously both Asa and Evan are me. But Evan is a lot more like the me I want to be. I know that being too meek has held me back in many areas, including my work and getting an active social life. It seems to me Evan would do far better, with the same knowledge, the same personality, but more confidence and assertiveness. I realize that it is in part the anonymous nature of the Internet that allows me to be more forthcoming. Another reason Evan comes across as more well spoken is that, when writing online, I can take time to choose my words and be sure that I am saying exactly what I want. While it is probably only going to take you a few minutes to read this, I have taken almost a week to write it. If I were to do this in real life I would be taken for an idiot, as I would spend most of my time saying nothing at all. Unfortunately, this often results in my staying quiet during social occasions, as I’m not sure exactly what I want to say. Despite these complications, my goal is to try to transfer this openness to my offline life.
So why am I mentioning this now? With the New Year upon us, I see this realization that I have two sides of myself as an avenue for improvement. I never really had any concept of how I could become more assertive in my everyday life, but what I have been able to do as Evan gives me some possibilities. I was able to tell Amar and his readers through my comments that I was gay even before I went to tell my parents, and they were the first people to whom I was able to openly admit this. Since then I have told several more people and have now reached a level of comfort where I am fully comfortable with this information being generally known. It’s not like I’m going to walk up to people and say “Hi, I’m gay!” but I want to be free to make certain statements and publicize them through media like my Facebook if I so desire. And if the topic comes up in conversation, it doesn’t matter if friends or family happen to mention this information to others. I am not deluded to the point that I don’t realize there are haters out there but I honestly don’t have the time for it. If someone can’t handle my being gay, that’s their problem, not mine.
Well, it is now the year 2011. I have been writing this over the course of the past week, and I am now writing this section early on January 1. The year did not end the way I wanted it to, but I can see a new beginning for the next year. I will probably be looking to change my field of work because, while cooking is probably my greatest passion, I am starting to realize the restaurant industry is not right for me. The frantic pace, the lack of security and low pay are just getting to be too much to stomach, especially as I will be 30 in less than a year. I have a university degree and some experience in other fields, so there are easier ways to make money in ways that I can actually use my intellectual abilities. In addition to getting a better job, my other goal for the new year is to find a boyfriend. I spent this New Year’s alone, and I would rather not do that next year. One never knows if these future goals will actually be met within a specific time frame, but at least I have specific goals on which to focus. I am also trying to enter the new year with a positive attitude, and I’m sure that will help.