First and foremost THANK YOU for all the support, love, and feedback you all have given in regards to My Grownup Christmas Wish post, I couldn’t be more appreciative of it. Secondly, I’ve baked so many cookies the past few days that next year I’m asking for Zanerobe joggers in every color and fabric because currently they’re the only things that fit me. Speaking of cookies, there are some pretty scrumptious recipes coming your way the next few weeks; like Dark Chocolate Sugar Cookies and Brown Sugar Toffee Cookies. Both were welcomed with rave reviews by the family, and I’m happy to report that I came home empty-handed, save the bottle of Jim Beam that I ended up with as my bounty from Dirty Santa.
How about all of you – how was your Christmas? Did you get everything that wanted and more? Sound off in the comments below and let me know what you ended up with. This year I realized that I’m getting old because I asked for new cookware and kitchen ware instead of clothes, also because one of my younger cousins – whom I used to baby sit – is getting his license this coming year. My, my, my, where did the time go?! The parents weren’t lying when they said to not wish away your youth.
P.S. Please excuse the red cheeks, it was cold and windy.
First of all, Merry Christmas! Secondly, thank you. Thank you for another year of continued support in this crazy adventure, and thank you for tuning in for this special Christmas edition of Out N Lou. While many of us may be spending time with friends and loved ones this time of year, I do realize and understand that not all of us are so lucky. Whether it be distance that separates us from our families this time of year, or other circumstances Out N Lou has you covered. Cause no one should be spending Christmas night alone. Below find a list of 11 bars that are open on Christmas Day, thanks to my friends at Thrillist plus one thanks to yours truly, along with other happenings in and around Louisville this Holiday weekend.
It’s a pretty short list week, as I and most of the Louisville creatives are trying to take a few days off, disconnect, and recharge our batteries so that we can take on 2015 with all that we’ve got. Speaking of 2015.. is there anything that you see on the site that you hate? Or maybe there’s things you don’t see that you’d like to. If so, leave me some feedback in the comments below, and as always tag along this weekend by tagging your photos with #OutNLou – which hopefully after yesterday’s post takes on a whole new meaning for you.
By now I’d hope that we’ve all wrapped up our Christmas shopping – I started AND finished yesterday, don’t judge. But in keeping with the spirit of the season I wanted to share what’s on my wish list this Christmas. Before you go and roll your eyes, hear me out. This post will go down in history as the most personal, in-depth, and transparent that I have written.
It’s no secret that I’m a gay man – if it is, then that cat is officially out of the bag now. While I may have mentioned my coming out story in previous posts, I’ve never went into detail about it. Until now that is. I’ve chosen to share my story because it’s my wish that it may serve as inspiration for other young people out there struggling with exactly what I went through 10 years ago, and ultimately because My Grownup Christmas Wish is that one day no one will have to deal with “coming out” because it was the hardest thing I ever had to go through.
I still remember it like it was yesterday, even though it’s been over 10 years now. I was 14. It was the middle of the summer, and I was on break at my part-time job when my work day was cut short and I was plucked out of the office by my parents and ushered out the back door. No sooner than did I have the car door shut when my mom asked the three words that forever changed my life, “Are you gay?” Without a second to think about it, a pause to take it in, or to be taken back by it I replied “Yes.” It was the first time I had said it out loud to anyone, least of all my parents. Cue waterworks from my mom, and silence from my dad. It was only a short 10-15 minute drive home, but it seemed to drag on for hours. Once we got home the silence continued, interrupted by my mom’s sobs which were shortly joined by my own. Most of what occurred after that is a blur, by that I don’t remember most of the exact words that were spoken. There were a few that stood out, and that are still committed to memory. Like, “Do you think it feels good to take it up the butt?” or “What did we do to deserve this?” The only other thing I remember is how small I felt in that moment, so incredibly small. But not once did I try to deny it, and for that I’m incredibly proud of myself. To be fair though there wasn’t really any denying it. Because of growing up in a religious, military family I didn’t have anyone to talk to about what I was going through, and I resorted to the only place I knew I’d be safe, online chat rooms.
To make a long story short I began chatting with a guy from Florida by the name of Eddie, along with a slew of other guys. It was such a sigh of relief to be able to talk to people about all the feelings that I had been holding inside for years. I was young, I was naive, and I was stupid, but most of all I was a young, horny gay man who had never had any outlet to explore those types of feelings before. Imagine being 14 and dealing with all the hormones that come with that WHILE trying to figure out what being gay means. It was a lot to handle, in and of itself. Needless to say, photos were exchanged – if I ever become “famous”, you’ll probably find some NSFW photos of me floating around out there. Remember Eddie from before? He’s actually responsible for outing me at the ripe age of 14. I opened my heart and soul to the guy, and because of that he was able to bring me down in one fell swoop. He had found out where I went to church and e-mailed all the ministers at that church telling them all about my gay lifestyle, complete with a full photo gallery of me in some not safe for church positions. My ministers in turn sent the message complete with photos to my parents, and the rest is history.
Within a few minutes the world as I knew it had completely changed. It was something that I had wrestled with for most of my life. I’d always been called queer by my peers at school, and by always I mean always. From the 1st grade until 10th grade it was something that I dealt with EVERY day, but I couldn’t talk to my parents about it because I knew that I was different than the other boys. I hated going to school, I hated being around people, and most of all I hated myself. There were nights I would lay in bed and pray to God that he’d make me fall in love with a girl in order for it to all go away, but no such luck. Some days were better than others, but I always walked on eggshells. After coming out I was essentially grounded from everything. My cell phone was taken away, I wasn’t allowed to access the computer unless supervised, and I was placed into a counseling program complete with an antidepressant regime. Yes, some people really do believe that they can pray the gay out of you, and if that doesn’t work then a good dose of antidepressants will leave you feeling lifeless enough to not have feelings for men.
The next 4 years were quite possibly some of the worst of my life, both personally and mentally. I skipped a lot of school, made a lot of stupid decisions, and slept with some horrible guys. After graduating high school I spent a few months couch surfing before moving in with a friend and sleeping in his living room for over a year, during this time I drank a lot, partied way too often, and never had a place to call home. This was painfully obvious during the Holidays – which is a big reason why I’m not a big Holiday kind of guy anymore, a fact that my dad often reminded me of. There were a few years where I wasn’t invited to family Thanksgiving or Christmas, and spent them with friend’s families instead. At the end of it all I learned how to be self-sufficient, not without my fair share of trust issues though – sorry to all the guys I’ve tried to date, I know that was painfully evident.
Now seems like a good of time as any to share a moment in my life that I’ve never shared with anyone before. I honestly don’t feel incredibly comfortable sharing it, but I feel that it needs to be shared because it happens every day. There was a time in my life where I felt so badly about being gay that I thought it would easier for everyone, including myself, if I wasn’t around anymore. It was the lowest point of my life, and one of the loneliest. Luckily for me and everyone else like me it does get better.
I’ve come a long, long way in 10 years, and I honestly wouldn’t change any part of my coming out experience. While it was the hardest, most challenging portion of my life it helped me grow into the strong, independent man who I am today. Unfortunately not everyone is able to overcome the obstacles that coming out in close minded communities affords. My heart literally breaks every time I read an article about a young person ending their life due to bullying or not being accepted by their family, and it’s my hope in 2015 to showcase that things do get better. While my parents and I may not still see eye to eye on my sexuality, but we’ve come a long way, and I don’t allow myself to be bullied by anyone any longer.
Ultimately I wouldn’t have been able to do ANY of that without a strong support system however, and that’s where My Grownup Christmas Wish comes into play. It’s my wish that as time goes on I can be a positive role model for young people, especially young gay men, and that this site will serve as inspiration for them. A source of inspiration that shows that they can be anything that they put their mind to, be whomever they wish to be, and be bigger than any labels placed on them by others. My inbox is always open, and I’m a great listener. Whether you’re reading this from the living room of your parent’s house or anywhere else and feel like you have no one to talk to, you do now. Never forget that you’re not alone, and that it does get better.
Last but not least, Happy Holidays to each and every one of you reading this post, and thank you. Thank you for being my support system this past year, for tagging along on this crazy journey I call life, and most importantly for letting me, be me. I’m incredibly hopeful for what 2015 holds, and I can’t wait to share it with all of you.
What says Happy Holidays like a Giant Ginger Cookies? In my book, there’s nothing like it. I’ve made forays into gingerbread cookies in the past with rave results, and I thought I’d attempt to recreate the success with a new recipe for this Holiday season. When I’m unsure on what recipe to head into the kitchen with I always pop open my Pinterest feed and start hunting. Pinterest has become my go-to for inspiration on several fields, but mainly in the kitchen and around the house. It’s also became a place for me to share outfit advice for the ladies out there. Essentially, you could say it’s my catch all for all the content that never makes it to the site, or a sneak peak of what may be making it’s way to the site. In other words – you should keep up with me on there for some behind the scenes looks at what’s to come. Until then, revel in the deliciousness that is these cookies, and snag the recipe for yourself once you’ve made yourself hangry from looking at all these photos.
Giant Ginger Cookies
The Kentucky Gent, a men's life and style blogger, shares his recipe for Giant Ginger Cookies at thekentuckygent.com
Can you believe that Christmas is just 3 days away, and that I haven’t even begun Christmas shopping yet? Totally being serious there, btw. I’ve had the HARDEST time getting into the Holiday spirit this year. Between being single, having an apartment to myself (for the first time ever on the Holidays), and being swamped with work I’ve been lost in my own little world. In typical male style I’ve waited until the last minute, BUT today I’m forcing myself to get out of the house and hit up some of my favorite local shops and knock out all my shopping with one fell swoop.
Keeping with my theme of being behind on the times I’ve only recently started wearing denim jackets, and I’m kicking myself for not getting on board sooner. They’re perfect for wearing with your favorite plaids or hoodies, or with both on those cooler days. The best thing about denim jackets? They’re never going to go out of style. Whether you’re out shopping somewhere like Nordstrom or at your favorite thrift store there’s bound to be one or two styles of denim jackets laying around. My tip? Stick with a medium wash. Not too light, not too dark.
And in case you’re like me and waited until the last minute to get your shopping underway today is the last day to order items online and receive them by Christmas Eve for most retailers. Check out these last minute gift guides for the fellas, ladies, home, and the kiddos for some inspiration and to finish up your shopping.
- All images on The Kentucky Gent are taken by me (Josh Johnson) unless otherwise noted. Please feel free to use these photos for non commercial purposes; I only ask that you link back to the original content when possible.
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