Who I’ve Been (from 2016, archived)

I’m a fan of pro wrestling. I’m what wrestling fans call a smark – a (usually derogatory) term for someone who’s a fan of the product while knowing a good deal of the behind-the-scenes terminology and information. I’ve been a fan for some 15 years now, and I imagine I will be for the rest of my life.

I’m a writer. When I was 14, I wrote a ‘Heal The World’ style song in response to a natural disaster. I hoped it would bring something between hope and change, but it got lost to time. I’ve considered myself a writer for some 10 years, and I imagine I will for the rest of my life.

I’m bisexual. While I’ve had crushes on girls for as long as I can remember, it was when I was 15 in a particularly dull class that I let my mind wander and dream on a particularly cute boy. I’ve known myself to be bisexual for some 9 years, and I imagine I will be for the rest of my life.

And then there’s my faith… When I was 17, I got baptised into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I got called to be a writer and a teacher for the church over the subsequent 4 years, and was deemed worthy of certain ordinances throughout that time.

I’m a picker
I’m a grinner
I’m a lover
and I’m a sinner;
I play my music in the sun.

I’ve never been fond of promoting my wrestling fan-boy motif throughout my broader social context. Not only is there a certain stigma that (understandably) comes with being a wrestling fan, but being a wrestling fan with a disability presents a more unspoken stigma. John Cena (the modern equivalent of The Rock, or Hulk Hogan depending on your age) has spent many hours of his life giving to certain disability-focused charities, as has the WWE as a whole. While this certainly has done so much good as a result, it has promoted an idea to the more casual viewer that people who like wrestling and have a disability are those who live with an intellectual disability. While this obviously isn’t bad in and of itself, it does enforce an incorrect idea about myself and others in a similar situation.

Writing has been my main outlet for years now. While it started at lyrics, limited distribution options forced me to think beyond just lyrics. I’ve moved into blogging and creative work and, primarily, poetry. At one point, I even considered myself a journalist, writing for university magazines, NZPWI, and cbmNZ. However, progression of my disability has removed a great deal of my physical ability to write. Up to this point, this post has taken me, with breaks, 5 hours to write. In fact, only a few weeks ago, my arm had some sort of spasm attack which removed another large chunk of physical ability. Writing has become incredibly difficult, and it’s the one thing I consider myself to be truly capable of.

When I first discovered my feelings on sexuality, they were something I hid from the get-go. I can’t understand exactly what my reasoning was, but I imagine it was typical teenage shame for something I considered to be yet another abnormality. I then reached a point where I was surrounded by certain conservative mindsets, resulting in me just sort of pushing it to the side. I always knew that that part of me was there, but in a way I was lucky; as sexuality wasn’t such a big part of my life, I could leave it aside while it was inconvenient.

When I was 16, I prayed for the first time. Eventually, this prayer led to my membership in the aforementioned church. However, after a few years, I left the church, became what’s known in the church as ‘inactive’. My faith got lost and I began focusing on other things. I called myself an ‘agnostic theist’, unwilling to commit to any faith on either side of agnosticism while being unwilling to give up my beliefs on deism. After three and a half years of religious self-exile, I began looking into that church once again. One year later, one month ago, I rejoined the church and became ‘active’ once again.

“And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength.” 

For years, I’ve put off the mantle of wrestling fan as a result of something between pride and shame. It’s exhausting for anybody to try and manage their identity, moreso when trying to hide part of it.

For years, I’ve kept my sexuality almost completely private. While I still believe that sexuality is, for the most part, a private matter, it’s meant that I have had to sit through some fairly base assumptions.

For all my life, I’ve floated in and out of religious mindsets, generally subscribing to whatever seems easiest at the time. For eight and a half years, I’ve had a belief (whether I subscribed to it or not for all that time) not founded on ease, but founded on faith.

These identities are a part of me, identities that have changed but have ultimately remained. These identities are three of the building blocks of my life, regardless of desire for more or less.

And for years, I’ve tried finding myself a career endgame. I’ve lived under countless labels and countless definitions of those labels. But, it turns out, some things change more than you can bargain for. Things don’t always go as you intend. For over a decade, I’ve been a writer in some form or another; now, writing is extremely difficult and much more of a rarity. The words I use are chosen much more carefully, much more deliberately. As a result of my physical constrictions, I have now been writing this off and on for four days. Writing is no longer even close to a viable profession.

I was born by the river
In a little tent
And just like the river
I’ve been running ever since

It’s been a long, long time coming
But I know a change is going to come

I don’t know how my labels will alter over the coming year, the coming decade, the rest of my life. But I know that life is in flux, and something I’ll keep trying at. I have belief of hope (of myself and others), despite probability. I’ve lived under a personal mantra of ‘high hopes, low expectations’ for most of my adult life so far. While this can be a detrimental philosophy – especially when planning – it has allowed me to deal with the anxiety of constant change. It has allowed me to evolve my definitions of my labels when the time is needed.

Such a time is now. I have already said that I imagine I will consider myself a writer for the rest of my life, but I do not see myself being a blogger anymore. There is a reason I haven’t written on here for so long, and it’s not for lack of desire. So, for the foreseeable future, I will be a writer in other ways. While I’m sure this blog has been nothing more than a torrent of rubbish for the eyeballs to anyone who’s ever been insane enough to read this, it still saddens me to say that this is my final post.

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