I have a page on a social networking site, as I find this a good way of keeping in touch with friends who are 'far flung.' Recently I've been 'tagged' to write 25 things about me that others might now know. Whilst I don't like the 'tagging' aspect, and am not doing this here, I thought I would post my '25 Things' here, as they will provide an insight into me as a person, and sharing me with you is all part of my spiritual journey. So here goes!
1. I was engaged once! Yes! That might surprise some people who have always known me as gay ‘out and proud’ Andy, but I was engaged to a woman and 3 months from the wedding day I realised what a terrible mistake this would have been, for her as well as for me! It was all part of me giving into intense pressure from the Christian community I once lived within to conform to their vision of what was ‘right’ and ‘normal’ for me, as opposed to me taking time to listen to myself and discover who I actually was. I learned a great deal from this experience, but I do feel bad for the woman I was engaged too, as I didn’t handle it very well at all at the time.
2. I went to Bible College. And this was no ordinary Bible College! This was a place where Christian leaders felt they had an absolute right as ‘Shepherds’ to access the very core of your life and literally control your life. I saw people move house, sell property and hand it over to the leaders, as well as marry, when they were told to do so. This was a place of absolute control, little short of a cult, and as you can imagine, I saw many people break under this pressure. I have to say that I consider this phase in my life as one of the most destructive I have experienced and following my time at this place I wasn’t well. Again, I’ve learned many life lessons from this and am a stronger person as a result. The experience was enough to send me into a ten year agnostic phase, but perhaps this was necessary in order for my new path to open before me. This Bible College was a clone making factory, nothing to do with people finding their One True Self at all.
3. My spiritual life is the central core of me and everything else revolves around this and exists because of this. I consider myself a Magickal Being, my eternal soul inhabits this physical body for this incarnation and I am learning that I am able to commune with my ancestors, my Gods and All Nature as I stand as one with The All. Magick is about changing consciousness through will, and this is becoming more of a reality in my life.
4. I have no sight in my left eye. I lost the sight in my left eye when was 23 following a detached retina. This happened as a result of myopia. So, if I walk past you in the street, it’s not me being pompous and rude, I’ve simply not seen you!
5. I want to write a book! My story, one of coming from a strict evangelical background, the Bible College, being gay, finding my own true path, losing the sight in my eye, I think all these things combine to make a powerful story that people could take inspiration from. I just need to get on and do it!
6. I am proud to be gay! I don’t lecture people about it, being gay is an aspect of me, it’s not all of me, but neither is it something that I apologise for. I am who I am and more than this, I have every right to be who I am. My sexuality is not a second class sexuality, I am a unique individual, beloved of the God’s. Gay people do not seek better or more rights than others, we simply look for a level playing field where all people in this world share an equal opportunity at life chances. This world is still rife with inequality of all kinds, and this both angers and drives me.
7. I do not eat meat or dairy products. This is because I refuse to take the life of another sentient being and I am appalled at the way humanity ‘farms’ animals. We bring suffering and pain upon our fellow creatures based upon some kind of superior standpoint, in the way we intensively farm, slaughter and transport animals and it’s just plain wrong. Even organic farming of animals mistreats them and perpetuates cruel practices.
8. I manage services to adults with learning disabilities as part of the Local Authority.
9. I have been in a relationship with my partner for almost 20 years (although we had a little break from each other in the middle of this!)
10. I have 3 Nephews, aged 13, 10 and 8.
11. I adore cats. Cats are so intelligent, loyal, friendly, sensual, social and loving animals. I share my life with 3 cats.
12. I have just been lucky enough to secure an allotment and look forward to growing my own veggies! First, however, I have to clear the land and, as it’s full of couch grass, I have my work cut out for me!
13. I am increasingly frustrated by the way that ‘life’ stops me pursuing the things that are really important, but as yet I can’t see a way around this!
14. I love the music of Rufus Wainwright – and I just love him as well!
15. Music is really important to me, and I have a very eclectic taste, incorporating many genres.
16. I get angry when people sound off about the ‘politically correct’ culture of today. Whilst I see what frustrates people about this, I feel that people often miss the crucial issue, and this is one of respecting and valuing others and their individuality. Why people don’t get that is beyond me.
17. I cried watching Barack Obama’s inauguration.
18. I love living in this rural part of South West of the UK and would not want to live anywhere else. I’ve lived in towns and cities and I know where I am happiest – it’s here, in the country and I aint moving for anyone!
19. I hate flying. I’ll do it, when pushed, but I absolutely loathe and detest it and would be quite happy never to get on a plane ever again. Ever!
20. I am increasingly aware of the mortality and frailty of this flesh my spirit inhabits and of the urgency to get on and do what I was sent here to do. My working life feels less important, and the outworking of my spiritual practice more so.
21. I love collecting antiques, especially items from the arts and craft movement.
22. I value and treasure my friends and trust is pivotal in all my friendships. It’s crucial to me.
23. I’m tactile and sensual. I think I must have lived as a cat at sometime!
24. I think fundamentalism of any kind is dangerous.
25. I love red wine and drink too much of it!