March 22, 2022

Jimmy Allen endures a highly visible skin disease to find self-acceptance


Jimmy Allen brings such authenticity and vulnerability to this episode as he shares his painful experience of discovering he had a skin disease called Vitiligo. This disease causes loss of skin color in patches and is most commonly found is people of color. He recounts his journey from denial, resistance, and desperation to self-love and self-acceptance. His heartfelt way of telling his story was so emotionally charged that I could feel it.  If you have ANYTHING about yourself that you are struggling to love and accept, you'll definitely want to listen to this episode.

Jimmy is host of the Crazy Juicy Love podcast, a love and relationship coach and he clearly demonstrates that he lives what he teaches.

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Transcript

Coach Maddox  0:03  
Hello, Jimmy Allen, and welcome to The Authentic Gay Man Podcast. I'm so thrilled to have you here. Thanks for your willingness to be a guest.

Jimmy Allen  0:13  
Thank you for having me, Maddox.

Coach Maddox  0:16  
So for our listeners, Jimmy and I have known each other since I want to say 2017.

Jimmy Allen  0:24  
Um, I think it's about that time. Yes, I remember,

Coach Maddox  0:30  
we met in a coaching certification program, Katherine Woodward Thomas, who trains people in the calling in the one process. And we actually partnered on some of the school projects and supported each other and held each other accountable, guilty, accountable. And it was really, it was cool. It was fun. And that's how we got acquainted. And, you know, we're both coaches now and work with people about relationships and varying other aspects of their lives. Anything you'd like to add to that, Jimmy?

Jimmy Allen  1:07  
Um, that was a great experience, you know, just circling back, I'm going to be involved in her apprentice program in July. So I'm excited about that. And just, you know, continually deepening my knowledge and my skill to really be able to serve people in the most highest way as possible.

Coach Maddox  1:32  
Oh, that sounds very exciting. Congratulations. That's, that's quite a, you know, quite a big step to step into an apprenticeship under somebody like Katherine Woodward Thomas.

Jimmy Allen  1:44  
Yeah. Thank you.

Coach Maddox  1:47  
Well, so let's see, let's just launch in. So my first question for you is, what does it mean to you to be an authentic gay man?

Jimmy Allen  2:01  
What does it mean to me to be an authentic gay man had to drink some water for this.

Coach Maddox  2:09  
It's a pretty big topic.

Jimmy Allen  2:12  
Um, I mean, authenticity, for me is the willingness to be seen. Just open and being vulnerable, about who you are, and allowing someone in and allowing yourself to be seen. Without, you know, being a caricature of yourself. You're not, I'm, I'm being my most authentic self. Honestly, without judging myself, or allow myself to be affected by others. I'm really honoring my own internal needs. I'm speaking up in ways that honor myself and I guess, you know, the people around me, respecting myself respecting others. And just showing up, you know, no matter what, without, you know, my baggage or validates my own self criticism or others criticism, I'm showing up as my best possible self.

Coach Maddox  3:32  
I love that. I love the way you language that. And I would love for the listeners to hear where are you in that process? If on a scale of one to 10? If, if one was at the beginning of that, really coming into your own authenticity, and 10 was an advanced stage? How would you rate yourself?

Jimmy Allen  3:54  
Um, I think I'm between eight and nine. And I think I say that because, you know, I think people when they meet me, they give that even though my best friend, he recently called me, he was like, you know, he just called me out of the blue. It's like, you know, one thing I really love about you is that you just, authentically, be yourself. Like, no matter what, you're just going to just be seen and be and allow me to see who you are. And I think too, as I navigate myself through like dating, I think because I reckon because I'm at this stage of authenticity with myself, I can see others in authentic in authenticity, because I'm not trying to put on a Beale and trying to impress or trying to, you know, I'm not trying to be anything else or trying to be any gay. You know? Like stereotype, or like an otter, or a bush or that, like I, honestly, I feel like I don't fit in those boxes, and I don't try to fit in fit in those boxes, I try to honor what is really true for me and not try to fit into a box or a group where they say, I have to look this way, or dress this way or talk this way. To me that's not being authentic, being authentic. But I have to look dressed and feel to be in a certain group authenticity is and it's for me, it's like, I don't need those things to be accepted. I am I am. i That's it.

Coach Maddox  5:40  
I am. I'm with you. And I and you, I think you do. I'm with you, I think you do have a high master level of mastery and authenticity. And

Jimmy Allen  5:50  
I can slow down when I say that word. It's

Coach Maddox  5:55  
a mouthful. You know, I love your story about your friend calling you and isn't it just amazing when totally unsolicited, somebody that we trust reflects us back to us? Yeah, it does better than that. People are affirming you without you soliciting it, they're just naturally affirming you. So that's Yeah, congratulations. That's a pretty, pretty big, pretty big deal.

Jimmy Allen  6:20  
I mean, it doesn't mean like, Oh, it's so like, easy. Sometimes Sometimes you just think, you know, with society in some times being around other gay men, it's sometimes easy to like slip into these ideologies of what it is to be a gay man and so on. Sometimes I have to be reminded, sometimes I get reminded because I'm so different in those circles, because it when I, when I hear the inauthentic are authentic, or inauthentic, I'm struggling to work in authentic ways. It doesn't feel right. It doesn't feel right in my skin. And I'm usually the one who is having deeper conversations than on the surface conversation because I find more value in getting to know so one on the real real. Whatever that is, you know, like, when I go into a circle is I'm looking for real connections, not you know, what some RuPaul drag race, you know, although those shows are great. I'm looking for a real conversation and people who are willing to be seen because I'm gonna be I'm want to be, I want to be seen and heard as well.

Coach Maddox  7:42  
Well, I love you calling that out. And I feel exactly the same way. And oftentimes, I find when I'm in a social setting with gay man, and all those surfacey conversations are happening, I just kind of like shrink back and listen, and don't really participate. And I've realized that that sends a whole, you know, whole message that wasn't necessarily the message that I was trying to send, you know, I think that I have in the past come across as maybe aloof, or, or closed down, or maybe even superior, you know, because I will just sit and listen, I don't have much to contribute to those really surface conversations like that struggle with that. Now, I've realized that I need to learn how to there's got to be some middle ground that bridges the gap, something between the real surface and the real, real deep, because not everybody can go deep, or at least maybe not in the first conversation. Um, so I'm having to learn how to show up. And be my authentic self without having to go so deep, so quick, maybe finding some some common ground, if that makes sense.

Jimmy Allen  9:02  
Yeah, that makes sense.

Coach Maddox  9:05  
So let's shift gears a little bit. I love what we're talking about. But let's shift gears a little bit. And I kind of want to delve into and here because I think are our challenges in life and our path. Her journey is always as coming back to our most authentic self. You know, I personally believe that we come out of the womb as as babies fully authentic. And then we get messages in our formative years from parents from family from society at large, that teach us that it's not safe, to be authentic. And oftentimes by the time we're seven 810 years old, we have completely severed or severed ourselves from our authentic self. We go through a period of time where we don't feel quite Right, but we don't know why we don't feel quite right. And we spend a lot of time seeking some of us seek our entire lives and never ever come back to our authentic self. And I think that's what's going on, I think that our seeking is we're trying to reconnect with that part of ourselves that we lost track of it's, it didn't, it didn't go away. We just lost sight of it. And I think that's what our trials and tribulations in life are about. They're about bringing us back to that authentic self. So tell me what is perhaps maybe the most challenging thing that you had had to go through in this lifetime? And where are you in that? You know, are you in this very beginning stages of it? Are you, you know, to the other side of it, or somewhere in between? and And I'll just, you know, shut up and let you talk now.

Jimmy Allen  10:55  
It's a more of a conversation.

Coach Maddox  10:59  
I'll interject when there's Yes.

Jimmy Allen  11:02  
You know, I think, you know, as we talked about before, you know, um, one of my biggest challenges was, you know, when I discovered I had vitiligo, which is a bit illogical is a skin pigmentation usually shows up with any culture, but particularly people of color, if you're a brown, or if you're kind of like all of a skin, you start to see these white spots that show up. So what it means that your body thinks that your brown skin is some kind of disease, and it's attacking the brown skin, so then therefore, you lose pigmentation in those in those areas. I think, you know, it was a huge challenge in the beginning, I think I am on the other side of it, it's really, probably helped me learn what real authenticity is. Because in the beginning, it wasn't, it was rough.

Coach Maddox  12:08  
So Jimmy, let's call out for the for the listener, for those that may not know you gave a wonderful explanation, but spell Bit ly go for us. So those that really want to have a better understanding, can Google that and, and get some examples of what that actually visually looks like?

Jimmy Allen  12:25  
Yeah, it's VI, T I, L. I G, A. Oh, so yeah, it's the GI T i L. I AG, oh, sorry. So you can go that and you'll see to see examples. And you know, Winnie Harlow is my probably one of the most famous models that displays that she was on top model. So she's like, people are very familiar with her. So it's becoming more of a mainstream kind of thing. I've started to see more in magazines, and posters and commercials and, and people on television, so it's becoming more of a visual thing for people are starting to accept. But you know, for me, when it first started, it was not it was not that

Coach Maddox  13:17  
I've seen a male model in some of the not print, but mostly online, the models for some of the clothing stores, and I believe he has written it's colored obviously, but it's red hair or reddish blonde hair. And I think it's so brilliant, that that's starting to be represented in fashion, and and just the world that you you now have. I mean, it's, it's giving it a face and kind of normalizing it. Yeah, I'm very I know, I don't know how you feel about that. But I'm really glad to see that, you know, like, like, also the way they're starting to put models that just don't have these perfect spilt bottle bodies, like male and female models that more you see a little more of it all the time that are more representational of what society really is about.

Jimmy Allen  14:13  
Yeah, I mean, there has been a big big movement of seeing representation especially with vitiligo. I think you know, people like Briana does does a really great job in her if you ever go on her website anti sadness fintie with you know, the underwear models, both male and female, they're all shapes and sizes, all people with vitiligo people with disabilities people with I mean, you name it, they she has those people represented on her website. So there's been, you know, a lot of movement happening, even commercials and I see more people have handicap, the set which I really love seeing that and seeing people who look like what I see every day in the street, you know, I'm starting to see more of that. And the media.

Coach Maddox  15:07  
So as you go into your own personal story, I'm going to ask you to tell your story in a manner that the listener feels it, like, they feel what you went through, I know you can do.

Jimmy Allen  15:22  
Um, let's all give it a shot. You know, when I first noticed the there was it started off as a spot on, I think, the right or left side of my eye, which I just thought of, like, I'm getting older. You know, as you get older skin changes, you know, I used to see these little white spots and not as prevalent as what my face looks like on my grandparents. But just thought, you know, I was getting, you know, as a part of aging. And then one day I woke up, and what what first start off is like, the size of A, the top of like, a pencil was now the size of a quarter on my face. And I was like, What the hell is that. And I was like, staring in the mirror. And I was like, Whoa, like, that's huge, you know, it's very noticeable. And I think I also that same day, I noticed a spot on my penis at the same and how to slide. Okay, I was like, what is happening. And I remember running to my computer glass, I just Google white spots on skin. And I click images, and I could see all these people with just covered with video I got, I remember saying Holy fuck, like, a deck cannot be true. Like I I remember, just like kind of like taking a breath, taking the back of like, this might be happening to me. And I didn't want to make any assumptions. And out but it was it was a it was hard just imagining that I could be turning into this unrecognizable person. And I remember saying, oh my god, I think I'm turning into a monster like I am. Nobody's gonna want me if this is what is going to happen to me. And I remember I think it was the exact same day I was heading Africa where I was heading the train, I was on a train. And lo and behold, I'm sitting on the train and a guy come in a trainee Heath cover a bit of Lego. And I broke down crying. And I had to put my shades on put my cap on, because I didn't want anybody to see me crying. And I will just shake out this oh my god, this is cannot be happening to me. Like and I think. So going back to what we talked about earlier. You know, my first thoughts was, oh my god, here's another thing as a gay man, I'm going to be rejected for like, you know, I'm, I rarely see, you know, as a black, African American, you know, people mixing with African American pair it is, you know, this idea of being perfect in the gay world. Here I am no longer going to be what might be the perfect looking gay man, that was gone. And, and like I was striving to be it but I guess unconsciously. That's what I was sort of living into because of now I realized the friends that I used to keep around, they had the great bodies great look, and I was always trying to be around them be like them, you know, always working out trying to be the hang within. And when I got but a lot by they're like a circus pretty even more, those friends didn't really come around anymore. Because now I look really, really different. And I think the same day, the same best friend I told you earlier that called me. This week, he called the bad day, the very same day.

And he was like, you know, are you okay? He's like, you sound kind of down and said, Well, you know, I think I got this, you know, skin disease call but uh, LIGO he's like I said, Do you know that it was like, Yeah, I know what it is. And he was like, he's like now and I don't remember what I said to him. And again, it was and I was like, oh my god, who's gonna want me who's gonna die? It's gonna affect he was like, Well, how he was like, Have you thought about this may be a blessing for you. I was like, What do you mean? He was like, well, he said, Well, what are you in pain? I was like, No, he was like, Are you going to die? I was like, No. And it's like, okay, it was like you're going to live. And he was like, maybe this is God's way of allowing you to see who is going to love you for who you are. And that, like, although it was great, in the moment, it was it took me a while to really take that in. Because I didn't believe it at first.

Coach Maddox  20:32  
You know, so I want to say, Man, that is a good friend. I mean, only two stories about him. And, and that is a good friend.

Jimmy Allen  20:43  
Yeah, he's, he always managed to say things that really change my perspective. So I can just continue to, I guess, live my, my best self, you know, and so he recommended that I go to a doctor don't make any conclusions, you know, and get a diagnosis. So you know, I got a diagnosis. And then by then, you know, I'm better like I was spreading. And and so one of the things, I was like, Okay, I wanted to I, if I can do something about I'm going to do it started doing one of the things they recommended that I do was light therapy, which is like, basically, in a tanning booth, a very little bit more dangerous, because you're under UV ray lights, three times a week, you have to sign a nondisclosure that you can get cancer by doing this whole process, and you have to do it consistently in order to see results. And so I said, Okay, you know, my insurance covered it, and I was doing it going to fit this like therapy three times a week, it was very exhausting, because the hospital that there was only one hospital and all over New York that had these machines. That was like, you know, from where I live in Queens, New York had to go to Manhattan, which was like, hours and change. Going there had to be there had to wait get in line, just to go there for like, three seconds. Because like, this was like, exhausting for a whole year, like a year and a half. And, and by this time I was doing all this research on like, okay, how can I cure myself? How can I cure myself and like, you know, my mom bought me this book and how this guy, you know, cured himself, vitiligo and I and I realized that my mom had been lied to and what she said was, she realized that she was allergic to cheap perfume. So I was like, Okay, I want to stop doing cloned anything with since in anything, I was going to go all natural. I mean, all clones, family, SOAP ME, everything went natural, for months to see the do anything to help reverse this, the skin disease like I just like I, because I just didn't want to face the reality of having it.

Coach Maddox  23:09  
You know, as you're sharing this story. And by the way, I want to say you're doing an insanely beautiful job of, I'm feeling all this. So you, you've definitely ticked the the vulnerability meter. I'm really feeling all of this. But what I'm really sensing as you tell, the story is that at this point, in your journey, you were in desperation,

Jimmy Allen  23:36  
I was. I was like, doing any and everything to make this go away. Was not accepting it was not outrageous. Like if somebody else could do it, I can do it too. I can cure this thing.

Coach Maddox  23:49  
You're describing also a high level of resistance to the the is what he is, you know, right.

Jimmy Allen  23:54  
What is exactly. And I think too, you know, I think what was the hardest part was, you know, on that in that process, and that journey was, you know, being on a train and seeing when people see me, they move the left side of the train, or they didn't want to sit next to me, people will see my hand and get up and even move to the other thing. They're just like, you know, give me this, like, eyes wide open, and then they were just like, move to the other side. And I would get I used to get so angry.

Coach Maddox  24:33  
Do you suspect that they were concerned that you might have something that was contagious? Is that beef? Oh, yeah.

Jimmy Allen  24:39  
I'm sure yeah. They might get it because it was, you know, not as popular or recognizable by mainstream because why you look at my hands. My hands are like, spot it, you know? And they didn't know but people didn't know what it is and You know, I remember, I think, and I think even I was working for this, you know, hi, again catering company, which is all about your looks. And I would get, I would be in arguments with people and like, Oh my God, you're finally turning white, you're fine. Oh my god, I suspected that you're, you know, you're not as black as we thought you was. And, you know, all this, like, the stuff I had to deal with on work. And it was just so disheartening. Like I just resented didn't want to show up at work. And also, I saw how it affected the work I see. So how, like, I wasn't getting more I wasn't getting jobs. Like it really, I could see like the work do window because of the way I looked. I wasn't, I didn't have that nice skin, clean, the clean, classic, you know, African American look anymore, I was very uniquely different. And, you know, I think there were, I think there was one moment that I started to change. And at this point, also, I wasn't dating, I deleted every single dating site. Because I was just like, I'm gonna not I'm not gonna date until I figure this out. And there was, I found this makeup company called Derma blin, which is the only company that makes a specific makeup for people with a bit of libel that they can cover it up. And so and it was only sold at Macy's and I went to Macy's and a woman did my face. And I remember just staring in the mirror, what she did my face. And I was I was just I was like, really happy and excited. You know, it looks normal. But I was like, Well, what about the rest of my body? Like, you know, I can't put this on my hands. And even if I could, you know, if I was going to have, you know, sex with someone, I mean, what am I gonna say? Like, I can't hide that, you know? And, and I was like, Is this really what I'm going to do every day to so other people can accept me? And I'll just like, and then I started asking questions like, well, when are you going to accept you. And I was sort of in that conversation for a while, like, it was really daunting on me. And I ended up going to taking out counseling at the time. And, and I just this funny how, like, I guess the universe works. And I started coincidentally, reduce your, my, my three times a week at this, you know, like therapy through like, sometimes one, sometimes two, like, I'll just, I'll just exhausted the traveling, and it was just coming with this so exhausted. And I just couldn't believe I was doing all this work to be accepted really by other people. But I was like, you know, I can be really utilize it as time for something else. Like, that's all I kept thinking about, like, what could I be doing what this three hours of 369 hours of my week is gone, she just go spend five minutes in a hospital for this thing. If I miss a day app and start all over again, I will dislike what I did, something has to give. And a lot of things have started to pop up for me at the same time. And a friend of mine introduced me to this sort of online coach named Max and Kip. And he was he was creating this book called The Daily love at the time, he was doing the daily love practice or something like that. And he had this one exercise, it was like, I think it was a 30 day love challenge or something like that. Every day you had to get up in the mirror, look yourself and say Look us up and I'd say one thing that you love about yourself every single day. So you know what I'm gonna do this challenge. So at the time, I was like, you know, going to counseling and even though that didn't work out, but the ironic thing about going to this counselor is that

as I was doing this self love every day thing and I really just doing it just to see like what will happen at the end of the result. And I remember waiting in this diner going to see the counselor, I think I can be food before after and I was waiting I ordered my food and I saw a Latino darts game man come in with a bit of Lego and my first thought was, oh my God, he's very handsome. And I was like, I caught myself and I was like, Oh my god. Like, I that's my first time ever seeing someone who I thought was attractive with vitiligo. And, and I was like, Oh my God, this may be working for me. And, and I started to like really every day, like put my hand on my heart, Jimmy, I love you today, what do I love by yourself today, I really love the way your eyes are starting to shape or the way the design of your hands starting to form, it really looks like a heart or a planet or a bird or a butterfly, just really starting to love the way you Look every day and starting to say monitors like, you know, I embrace my F forever changing body, you know, really embracing that part of me, and started to find myself defending myself more at work. And like when I started to really push back on what people would say to me about me, they would stop because now I'm now I'm starting to own myself. And I remember, you know, the last week of my hospital visit. And I told the nurse and said, you know, this is going to be my last day and she's like, Oh my God, what are you going to do? And I said, Well, I said, I guess I'm gonna have to learn to love myself the way I am every day. And she was like, wow. And I was like, Yeah, I'm gonna have to learn I love myself the way every single day.

Coach Maddox  31:35  
You know, what you're sharing right now is, first of all absolutely beautiful. I didn't I didn't know this part of your story. So thank you so much for sharing this. But I can guarantee right now that there are listeners that are ready to push the stop button. Because what you're talking about the talking to yourself, and the self love and and the looking at yourself in the mirror that is making some of our listeners so uncomfortable that they can't stand it right now, I can guarantee you that. So if you're listening out there, I encourage you to hang with this because he's telling an amazing story of transformation. And it's an inside job. Yeah, we tend to really approach life externally most of the time. And that's not where the good stuff happens. You know, the good stuff happens internally and then works its way out into AR is reflected back out into our external world. I love where you're going with this. But yeah, I'm pretty clear. There's some people that are on the edge with the you know, the story you're telling. I think it's epic. Keep keep going. Keep going.

Jimmy Allen  32:40  
I mean, it really is an inside job even though you know, I'm glad you said that because it'd be getting on that mirror exercise was a very popular exercise. I can't I think Kate batten or Louise Hays, they have, you know, books on mirror where these

Coach Maddox  32:56  
guys called Mirror work? Yeah.

Jimmy Allen  32:58  
And, you know, people think it may be silly. And in the beginning, I did not believe that. It was but I had to start small. I had to start off with what to even though I have this skin issue. Besides that, what do I really love about myself? Like I didn't have I didn't I had never identified it. And it wasn't till I think I learned I had to when I started being moved by my own self looking in the mirror. That's when I knew I loved myself because I was moved by the love that I had for myself. I wasn't just saying words anymore. I was actually touched by the love the level of love of the place from not really wanting to look in the mirror because I would Closs I was it was so bad I would gloss over myself in the mirror, it's I wouldn't look at myself. And very accurate recall because I used to keep my hair cut very, very certain length. So it could be dark because I had that logo in my on my scalp because I didn't want to see it. And then one day my barber made a mistake. And he cut it too low. And so he had to finish cutting it off to like almost, I was almost bald. I had I had to I remember like shaking in the chair. Because I hadn't seen it. I wasn't really looking at myself because I was doing all the things to try to hide myself to keep myself from looking at myself. And I remember being in that chair shaking like oh my god, you got to keep it together. You got to keep it together. You got to keep it together. Got to keep it together. So now, my barber now I tell him to cut as low as possible. So I can remind myself of who I am what I really look like, like I keep it very low. So I am owning who am I am every day in the mirror. So I want to own our I always remind myself like, This is who I am even, it's always changing. This is who I am. This is how I love myself. And I think also what helped solidified. That moment was I was dating someone had met somebody on the train, and very beautiful man from Spain. And we were sitting on his couch one day, he was like, you know, one of the reasons why I stopped, he says, because he picked my hand up, he was like, you know, the spot. Like, I really love the way your spots make you look, you look very unique. And he started like kissing me in those spots. And like, that really moves me and I was like, Oh, my God, here was the moment where somebody loves me for what I look like it didn't like it mattered to him that I did look like this. But I did look differently. I didn't look like everybody else. I was different.

Coach Maddox  36:20  
He was appreciating your uniqueness. Right?

Jimmy Allen  36:24  
And so, you know, even though that relationship didn't work, and we're good friends now. I think that moment helped me even build my confidence even more.

Coach Maddox  36:35  
It sounds like a defining moment in your process.

Jimmy Allen  36:38  
Right? It was a defining moment, the defining moment because if somebody like that, could love me, then I can love myself just as great. And I deserve. You know, some woman, I now I know what it's like someone who does who loves Me fully as I am, somebody can love me for four years I am. I can now fully love me as who I am, and be unapologetic about it.

Coach Maddox  37:12  
You know, my hope is that the listeners are relating to this not from a standpoint of, well, I don't have it like, what how does this applicable to me, but you know, we all have something in our lives that we may not like about ourselves, or that we may fear that others will judge about us. We all have something that we have to overcome. And your story applies to all of that, you know, I myself. I was, I was born premature, like very premature, and spent my first three days of life in an incubator. And in that period of time, when I was a child, they flooded incubators with pure oxygen. Now, they don't do that anymore, because we now know that exposing a newborn baby to pure oxygen can cause complete blindness. So I did not have complete blindness. And my parents didn't figure it out until I was five years old. But at five years old, when I got my first CNI test with a doctor, the doctor told my parents that I was legally blind. And they put glasses on me, of course, you know, this was in the early 60s. And there was no plastic or high index plastic. They were glass lenses, and they were as thick as Coke bottle bottoms, that my vision was so bad, they were as bad they were stick as Coke bottle bottoms. And throughout my entire growing up years. I got made fun of because of my thick glasses. It was It was horrible. And when I graduated from high school, my parents said well, what would you like as the graduation president and I said contact lenses. And I got contact lenses and it it changed my life. You know, I I got him in the summer after high school graduation went off to college. Now every time he meeting a whole new world of people without glasses, and it played an insane role in my level of self confidence and self acceptance. And I wore contact lenses for 17 years and then one day when I was about 35 My eyes just said, we're done. They became painful. I tried everything under the sun. I tried different types of contact lenses. They became painful, couldn't wear them had to go back into glasses. And I just have to say man it was I was really relating to your story in that it was a dark day. It was a dark day when I went back into glasses because it brought up everything that I had experience from age five until I graduated from high school and got my contact lenses. I wasn't given a choice. And I, I had a pretty big meltdown. Same type of feeling, nobody's ever gonna want me, you know, I just and I had to have, you know, now what I laughingly refer to as a come to Jesus meeting with myself, it was like, Dude, you have to see, you know, and therefore, you have to wear glasses. And you need to friggin get over this, whatever that looks like, you got to find a way to see yourself as an attractive man and believe that you can be attractive with glasses. And I, you know, I made myself a promise that I was going to do everything I could to learn to love myself very similar to your process. Yeah, to learn to love myself with glasses. I believe the universe really steps up in amazing ways sometimes, because shortly after I made that, that declaration that I was going to learn to love myself with glasses multiple times, like, like, people would walk up to me on the street and say, Wow, those glasses look great on you, like strangers. And, and I knew in my heart of hearts that this wasn't accidental, coincidental random. This was universe higher power, whatever you believe in. That was sending me very specific messages letting me know that yes, indeed. I could be an attractive man with glasses.

Jimmy Allen  41:42  
Right? You know, it's like, you know, similar thing like now I think I, you know, I have random people. I remember being on a train this woman literally came all the way from others. She's like, I have a let you know, you are beautiful. That's all I have to tell you. And she just walked back, like, maybe I'll just like, you know, wow, you know, I think you know, learning to really own yourself is very important. And, you know, going to that story, like the very thing that you hate about yourself, somebody is waiting for you to accept that about yourself so they can love you. Because that that's that thing that you're hearing about yourself, is really stops you from showing up as your best self. It affects how you are work, it affects how you're in relationships, it affects your all your friends, because now you're hiding, you're shaping yourself, you're trying to like, you know, manipulate and be something that you're not. And people feel that they don't You don't they don't get the real you, they you're trying to be something that you're not, and then all of a sudden, you start believing, like cheating on yourself. And then you're shitting on yourself, then you're like being self conscious about yourself. And like a friend of mine, you know, she's like, Oh my God, you know, I gotta get around my thighs and my thighs are too big. And I was like, Girl, what are you talking about? I was like, Do you see these women out here trying to get these little waist and big hips and thighs. I was just like, women are trying to get eyes and hips. I was like, you just need to accept own that part of you. Some man is out there is wanting to love on those thighs. Like but because you hate your thighs. And you get in a relationship with somebody. Now you're covering up he touching your thighs, and you're like pushing him away. But that's what he loves about you, your thighs. You know, so it's like, for me, it's like, okay, that's what the people are attracted to me about is my vitiligo. It's like, I have to own that

Coach Maddox  43:56  
part of what they're attracted to. Right,

Jimmy Allen  43:58  
you know, and it's, it's, it's my confidence, it's much more prevalent. When I walk into a room, you

Coach Maddox  44:09  
know, the world reflects back to us who we are, right when we're insecure. The world's gonna reflect that back to us. When we're secure. The world's gonna reflect that back to us. You know, as a career hairdresser that stood behind the chair and did women's hair, mostly women, about 10% of my clientele was male. 40 years, I stood behind the chair and did hair, and I would give one of my clients, maybe a new cut that was kind of daring. And before she would walk out the door, I would say, Honey, when you walk out that door, you have to own this haircut. If you don't own this haircut, everybody in your life will crucify you over this haircut. Everybody in your life. Oh my God, why did you Do you have such beautiful? Oh my, they're gonna be all over you. But if you walk out owning it and acting like you own it, then they're gonna love it. Yeah. Oh my god, I love and it's the truth, the world. Part of my slogan that I use in all of my marketing is that we train people how to treat us. Yeah. And and there's three ways that we do that. Number one, we train people how to treat us by the way that we they see us treat others. We train people how to treat us, by the way, we allow other people to treat us. And we train people had a treatise, by the way, they see us treat our sales. Yeah. And if you're telling yourself that you're ugly, because you got vitiligo, or you're telling yourself that you're ugly, because you got big thighs and hips, or you're telling yourself you're ugly, because you've got glasses, the world is going to follow your cue, and they're going to give you the same feedback that you're giving yourself.

Jimmy Allen  46:00  
Yeah, it's like I used to be in his leadership program. And I was a coaching program. And there's a few of you've done landmark, and I was a coach. And so there was we will have these, like, you know, four weekends where everybody all over the United States, or the world, quote, unquote, will come when we're doing on in person. We can retreats, and there's a few people who have been LIGO. And they were coaches, and they were all coming to me and be like, we admire you, we admire you. And I just first I didn't really get it. You know, I was like, what are they remind me about, you know, I say, oh, because I'm the one who's speaking up, I'm the one who's not afraid to stand up and say, you know, say, whatever. And I'm the person that's, you know, leading effectively, you know, because of wrestling, they they weren't leading it, I was even my own coach. He thought I had an issue with, you know, me having to like he, like, tippy toe around me. I'm just like, What are you doing? Like, why are i I've never told you I had an issue with my skin. So I don't need you. And I will tell people that too. I don't need you to make my skin an issue for you. I guess not an issue for me. So don't make it an issue for you. Oh, bravo. No.

Coach Maddox  47:28  
So that's, and that's a form of a boundary what you're doing right there,

Jimmy Allen  47:33  
right? You know, cuz people will do that they see you with a handicap or, or with, you know, with vitiligo, and you can tell how they start to change when they approach and it's like, no, no, no, like, you don't need to do that. Like, I have a very gay poppers, I think, for me, it's like when I'm in sort of, like, some leadership role and have to, like, speak up or speak out and like, deal with people because they think that, you know, I may their own perception is that I may have an issue with approaching someone with the way I look. And I don't, even with dating, like, I am I, a lot of my friends, or some of my gay friends, they're like, how do you go up to men and just like, get their number. I'm just like, because I'm only I am. I, you know, I just go up to them, and I just start talking to them. And I get the number. Like, it's just, I'm learning to own myself.

Coach Maddox  48:38  
Well, and you're doing a great job of it. You know, I just want to reflect back to you that you do at this point, and I'm an empath I feel other people's feelings with complete clarity. You really are in a good place about your, your visual look, I can feel it like you do own it. And and it's demonstrated, by the way the world's responding to you what a beautiful I mean, it's like this is your you have come full circle. In other words, I always think that there's something magical happens when we come full circle, you know, I tell my story frequently of being bullied for the first half of my life, like really, really mercifully bullied, and how bad it was. But there was a point when I realized, Wow, you are the man that you are, because of those experiences. Those experiences forged you into the man that you are today. And I really like the man that I am today. And I wouldn't be this man. If I hadn't been through that trauma and those wounds and yeah, and all that pain. So I wouldn't, I wouldn't want to relive it at all. But I also wouldn't if you said okay, well you know Give us a we'll get we'll give you a million dollars if we can erase that part of your memory. No, no, absolutely not.

Jimmy Allen  50:10  
I mean, your graphic, your greatest lessons coming comes with dealing with the very thing that you probably hate about yourself the most is like willing to deal with your beliefs. Because

Coach Maddox  50:22  
our greatest gift becomes our biggest wound, you know, our biggest triumph, our greatest wound, it comes out of the work becomes our greatest gift and the thing that we have to give to the world, right?

Jimmy Allen  50:37  
Because, you know, I think, what's her name is Maria folio. You know, she always would say the world is waiting, the world is waiting on you to be the gift that you have to give to the world. You know, so your gifts, whatever your insecurity is, with on the other side of that insecurity on the other side of that wound, on the other side of that, you know that trauma, like the world is waiting on you to heal yourself, and get the lesson and in and get and take on the lessons and learn the necessary skills that you need to learn to become a better version of yourself. Because somebody who is dealing with the same thing you're dealing with is waiting on you to learn to be that for them to be that represents as the world is waiting for you to be that triumphant person.

Coach Maddox  51:34  
Absolutely. And and it's important to call out that, like in your situation, the gift is not the vitiligo because that would be a very small percentage of people that you could really help. The gift is what that represents. And that is you learning to love yourself with whatever it was the gift is the self love. Do you agree with that?

Jimmy Allen  51:59  
Like it's a self, it's the gift is like, not just self love. But because it'll LIGO is forever changing. There isn't it's, my body is going to be ever changing, just like getting older. It's forever changing. And I'm learning to love. All the changes, accepting all the changes, because I'm going to be different from week to week can be different from week to week, to accepting all the changes as they come.

Coach Maddox  52:34  
But you've already demonstrated how that that that thing that you went through translates out into your friend with curvy hips and fies. And you could probably give a gazillion other examples of how that gift in that lesson translates out into your ability to help other people with self acceptance and self love. Whether it's a rapidly changing thing that they're going through. And let's face it, we are whether we realize it or not, Nothing stays the same. The only thing that never changes is the fact that everything changes.

Jimmy Allen  53:09  
But people don't accept that they want things to stay the same, or especially in relationships, like we used to be this way. Well, that's the past, you know, nothing stays the same. Like your lessons are right here right now. And your opportunity to grow is here right now. And if you're not reaching for those lessons, man, you're still stuck in this vicious cycle that is could be ideal, ideally, costing you money in your job. Like not only yourself because it does really affect how you show up at work.

Coach Maddox  53:54  
Well, yeah, place asked on multiple different levels, right?

Jimmy Allen  53:58  
It is costing you It's like what is it really, if you really start to think about whatever your insecurity is about yourself, it is costing you costing you in some way or form in your life, in your marriage, in your job with your kids with your family, it is costing you are holding on or trying to hide this, this this whatever it is, it is costing you,

Coach Maddox  54:27  
whatever it is that you can't accept, right? So I want to circle back and I'd like to know you've gotten to the other side of this you've come to complete self acceptance of what's happening to your your skin, and how it's changing in the way it looks different every week. Because of that journey that you made the work you did, the acceptance that you came to, what has that made possible in your life and and I mean, what is it made Like possible in the future? What has come about what's already happened as a result of that self acceptance and self love? And when when would you say did you? Did you reach that, that precipice where you made the shift to self love and acceptance and appreciation? When was that? Um

Jimmy Allen  55:26  
I think you know, REITs actually probably out maybe recently, two years, three years ago, I really fully just stepping into it. And I think

Coach Maddox  55:43  
just two or three years ago, I say two or three years ago, yeah. So So what's what's been your experience in that two or three years, what what doors has that opened up, or

Jimmy Allen  55:54  
it allows me to be brave with my content, like as a coach, like being brave, with asking for things that I want. And I see. Now that I think because of the way I look, people are much more interested in me. Like, speaking opportunities, people want to work with me, people just like, you know, even like, recently, like a guy, a friend of mine, who I haven't, we don't even really stay in contact. He's like, sending me notices, hey, they're looking for people with LIGO, you can make some money on this, like, you know, casting thing. So I'm like, I'm sort of in right now, this company is interested in using me for a campaign. You know, so there's, like, these, like, opportunities are coming up to speak, you know, about my journey, and like, being confident and stuff like that. And like, you know, a couple of magazines, like just wanting to put me out there on the front. I think because of my, my confidence is starting to speak up louder. People see it and hear it. And especially like, you know, I have do like a little work on this company in like, more leadership roles. Like before, that wasn't happening. But they see me owning myself and I can own a room and like work, how I work with people, and I'm not like, insecure about how I'm with people, that people just sort of gravitate towards me.

Coach Maddox  57:30  
You know, talk about your personal life. I love everything. You're saying, by the way, there is amazing. And I've actually been a witness to this. You know, I follow you on Facebook, we don't talk all that often. But I follow you on Facebook, and I watched some of the things you're doing and some of the opportunities that have presented themselves. And I'm very clear that that is all the result of stepping into that ownership. And that that self confidence and self esteem. Talk a little bit about how it's affected your personal life.

Jimmy Allen  58:02  
My personal life? Um, um, I think that a lot more men are more attracted to me.

Coach Maddox  58:13  
Okay, listeners, are you hearing what he just said?

Jimmy Allen  58:17  
I find more men attracted to me. Like, I think it was sort of recently happening, like, you know, I just find they're coming to me instead of me coming to them. You know,

just because I'm owning myself in a walk down the street, you know.

And just just funny, like, people, when I was in Nashville recently, like, when I, I don't know, I walked into this, and I was renting a car and people like, who are you? Like, I'm like, Excuse me, they're like, Are you a doctor or something? Like, I feel like I need to know who you are. And it just, that's been happening a lot. And I was in this Nashville hot chicken place. And in the middle of this restaurant, I'm waiting from a food disguise. Excuse me, you know? Are you like a music producer or something? Like Who are you like, I feel like you're somebody important. Like, like, that's

Coach Maddox  59:28  
completely relate to that. I I walk on our local hike and bike trail every day. And I watched this couple walk by and they always, you know, wave and greet me, they're very friendly. And for months, you know, I would greet them coming and going on the trail. And and one day, I just thought, you know what, I don't know who they are, but I need to meet them. And I just walked up to him on the trail and said, I feel like I need to know you guys. Can we talk for a minute and Sure, and and I just said, you know, you always acknowledge you greet me, you have smiles on your faces, you're so friendly. And that's such a rare thing on this trail, you guys really stand out as being different. And I said, could could we have coffee sometime? No, absolutely, you know, there was just this, this voice that was saying, in my head, I need to know them. And it wasn't necessarily because I thought they were, you know, like, a celebrity, a producer, or, you know, a doctor or anything like that. It was just, I thought these people stand out. Energetically, it was this feeling. And, and so, you know, because of COVID, we haven't gone to coffee yet. You know, we decreed that as soon as we feel a little more comfortable, being in social settings, that we're going to do that, but I get completely what you're saying, I can see why people are coming up to you. Because you are coming from that place of self love. You're owning who you are. Yeah, it makes perfect. I

Jimmy Allen  1:01:09  
mean, I mean, also, personally, I think I'm developing more authentic relationships, like, I'm just amazed of like, you know, during COVID, when I, you know, learning or myself or even now, like, I'll get random messages from back a few people that now they're like, become from Instagram and Facebook, and like, now we're like, close friends like that authenticity, because that authenticity is important to them. And so, you know, in the beginning, I think, you know, when you start to really own yourself, you know, you start to, I found that I started to really look for those authentic relationships, because it was important to me, who was being authentic my life and who is not, because it was important to surround myself with other authentic individuals. And that was important to them, because it really held me accountable. To be being my best self. And I needed to see examples of that around me. And I, this is a practice to,

Coach Maddox  1:02:17  
oh, yes, it's definitely a practice,

Jimmy Allen  1:02:19  
it's a real practice.

Coach Maddox  1:02:21  
I've also really just in the last couple of months, had the awareness that authenticity and vulnerability, have a direct link to our ability to manifest.

Jimmy Allen  1:02:34  
Yeah, that's what Joe Dispenza always talks about. And Wayne Dyer, like,

Coach Maddox  1:02:39  
I've not heard either of them speak of that this came through to me intuitively, I was, I was working on my own authenticity and vulnerability and noticing all kinds of opportunities and things come my way. And then I had been, loosely not not not officially coaching, but just having conversations with a couple of my close friends, in encouraging them to show up in life more authentically, and more vulnerably. And as they leaned into that, I was watching both of them just manifest crazy things, you know, like opportunities and people coming out of the woodwork to support them and share resources, and so on and so forth. And I stepped back, and I'm like, Okay, what's really going on here, and then it just kind of clicked, I really realized that, when we get real, when we become authentic and vulnerable. It makes people just want to come and sit next to us. Yeah. And they appreciate that authenticity and that vulnerability, so much that they are literally like falling all over themselves, to support us in whatever way they can, that would be introducing us to the right people that they know or, or providing us with a resource that they may have access to. It opens I've gotten to where the way I language this is and specifically about vulnerability, because authenticity and vulnerability, I think are there. They're maybe first cousins. They're different. They're not the same thing. There's a lot of overlap. They go hand in hand together, they marry each other really well.

Jimmy Allen  1:04:16  
I mean, they're both sides of a coin. They you can't you can't be one without the other.

Coach Maddox  1:04:21  
Well, yeah, I I don't know how I feel about that. Because I there are people that I because authenticity really authentically but you they didn't do much vulnerable, they could be fairly real to a degree but there was kind of like a maybe could be more vulnerability. But I always say, well, it could be de lado works, builds bridges and clears pathways the way rails can write

Jimmy Allen  1:04:47  
even though you said the word more still there was vulnerability, like, you know, to be authentic requires vulnerability. Like even if even if it's a sliver of it. For me, I think it requires us to be authentic. Because it's being you're being brave. Your willingness to show up

Coach Maddox  1:05:08  
Brene Brown says the definition of vulnerability is taking emotional risk. It's not exposure, it's not telling your deepest, darkest secrets. It's, it's taking emotional risk. And yes, you are. I agree, you're correct. When we become authentic and show our true selves, there is emotional risk involved in that. So yes, they go hand in hand, I do think there is a difference, but they do, like you said, they're probably different sides of the same coin. That works completely, no cool. Well, anything I kind of want to wind down and wrap up anything else you want to add, or anything that you would like to leave the listeners with.

Jimmy Allen  1:05:54  
Anything I would like to leave the listeners with, um, you know, the first thing that comes to my mind is that, you know, with, you know, being authentic, and especially, you know, being in a relationship, close relationship coach, or, because, you know, ideally, we're always in some kind of relationship, whether it was romantic, you know, collaboration, or whatever, even with the person behind the Starbucks counter. You know, whatever you're calling in, whatever type of love you're calling in, you have to be at first, like some people, you know, we we wait for somebody else to show up, I think I've learned that you have to have the willingness to show up like, like Brene, brown, taking emotional risks every single day, to be seen, and acknowledge people for being brave with their own life. Because, you know, it's not so often that people get acknowledged for being real. And sometimes people acknowledging someone else is vulnerability, and is simply saying, Thank you for sharing that, today that date that with me today. Thank you for thank you for always greeting me today with a smile. When I come in Starbucks, I always make me feel warm. It really you is like the butterfly effect, you're singing great vibes, you're like creating new vibes, you're also putting yourself in higher vibrational mode when you're acknowledging other people's vulnerability, and be and be kind to yourself, you know, sometimes vulnerability is can be scary, and acknowledged, like, Okay, I acknowledge that I'm scary is I'm scared to be vulnerable right now. And I can still do it anyway.

Coach Maddox  1:07:56  
Absolutely. I love that. I want to piggyback on something you said, you know, what you're wanting to call in to your life in the way of love, you have to be at first. I fully agree. And we all have an idea of kind of what that looks like. You know, there's some obvious things that that looks like but I want to kind of call out what may not be obvious. And let's say what you're wanting to call in, in your life in the way of love is perhaps somebody that is thoughtful and loving and kind and compassionate. And attentive, let's just list a handful. And where, where, where, where the thing that's not really obvious is when we have to be that ourselves. We think of oh, we have to show up and be willing to be that with the other person. No, no, no. Yes, yes, yes. But secondary, we have to show up and be that in our own lives. If you can't be that kind, thoughtful, loving, compassionate, and attentive person with yourself, then how can you expect another person to give you something that you're not willing to give yourself?

Jimmy Allen  1:09:14  
Right? And like no, not so obvious aspect of,

Coach Maddox  1:09:18  
we kind of get that if we want somebody to be kind and compassionate with us, we need to be willing to be kind and compassionate with them. But most of us are unaware of the fact that it starts in here first if it doesn't start in here first than it's not going to be authentic. In our outward expression.

Jimmy Allen  1:09:35  
No, no, not at all. That's why like, you know, people I heard relationships ago. They tell you know, this Bob, we need to love me for who I am. And then it's like, well, you don't even love you for who you are. So why are you in Europe pressuring this other person to love and accept you when you're constantly in the mirror and again, I hate my thighs. I hate my this. I hate my back. I hate my hair. I don't look good in this, that, that right there is not honoring and loving yourself. You have, it has to come for you come from you. First.

Coach Maddox  1:10:11  
We can't expect other people to do something that we're not willing to do ourselves. We can't expect our lovers to do something that we're not sales. If you're in a leadership role, you can't expect your employees to do something that you're not willing to do yourself. That's one on one.

Jimmy Allen  1:10:27  
Right? And also a quick story about that, too. Like, when I when I realized that, like, I was attracting an emotional unavailable, man, and I was like, Oh, my God has come for me first. And I started asking questions like, okay, where else that show up. And it was like, with my mother, my mother is never vulnerable. And I was always like, I'm the child. I'm a grown ass man. She needs to be vulnerable with me. She should be the example. She should be this, she should be that when it's like, okay. She doesn't maybe she doesn't have the tools to do that. She was never modeled that. I say, okay, as I Oh, yes, great. So I remember calling her that day, when I realized it had to come from me first. It was a very sensitive moment, because my uncle had, my mother had just buried two of her brothers within the same month. And I had realized this moment about something that one of my uncle's did to me and I shared it with her, I was like, a very vulnerable moment. And she didn't pick up the phone. And that moment, opened up to her so much, that every now we always have these, like really open conversations. And but it was, but it had to come from the first I had to model for model it for her first, and I had to accept, I might not get this from her. But it does not have to affect my ability to be vulnerable. Because my dedication to myself is important in this moment, to show up anyway, this way. That's important to show up any way whether this person is going to give it to me or not. That's important. Wow.

Coach Maddox  1:12:11  
I'm so glad you shared that last part. That's beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. Well, this has been Truly amazing. I loved all that you brought to the table. I'd love your stories. I deeply felt what you were going through as you felt that, that that journey and that desperation I could I could feel all of that. What an amazing story. So let's move into our rapid class questions. Are you ready? Sure. You only had moments to live what would be your greatest regret?

Jimmy Allen  1:12:54  
If I only am on this level of greatness, I'm not traveling like traveling more and traveling with people I love creating more experiences.

Coach Maddox  1:13:09  
See more the world? Beautiful. What is the one thing that you most wish you could change about the gay male community?

Jimmy Allen  1:13:24  
Drop these stereotypes of like, I'm a twink. I'm of this of that, like putting ourselves in boxes, because it's just really separates us and doesn't really bridge us together. Hmm,

Coach Maddox  1:13:40  
I agree. Completely. Beautiful. And final question. What is your superpower?

Jimmy Allen  1:13:50  
I think my superpower is my willingness to be vulnerable from the very beginning. Because it's, it shows me who people are and the very beginning like I've just learned to, like, lean into. lean into it. Like be willing to say the thing that people have ever, especially when it comes to dating. I'm not afraid. I've learned to like, say what's there and see what happens.

Coach Maddox  1:14:22  
You're right. It does kind of show you who people are really really quickly because vulnerability is kind of a polarizer people who really is running or running. I love it. You know this has been absolutely awesome. I want to leave you with one thing. Aside from thanking you for coming and being a guest. I want to let you know that. Jimmy Allen, you indeed are an authentic a gay man. Thank you. Thank you


Jimmy Allen Profile Photo

Jimmy Allen

Love and Relationship Coach

Jimmy Allen is Love and Relationship Coach. I help courageous and ambitious men overcome issues with their confidence, trust, and vulnerability, so they can create big love, owning their worth, while achieving their life's purpose, without shutting down and spiraling into deep depression.