Brian Janes had a wife of 30 years, two teenage kids, and a successful career. At face value, everything looked good. The problem was that Brian didn't have a clue who he really was. He shares a story of being in the 7th grade and being so numb from repressing feelings that he didn't understand, that he would cut himself with a razor blade, just so he could feel something. Everything unraveled at age 47 when he was driving to work one morning and, in the car, he said out loud, I'm gay! Brian's demonstration of vulnerability is truly inspiring. If you ever feel lost like you don't really know who you are, this episode is for you.
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Coach Maddox 0:03
Hello, Brian Janes, and welcome to The Authentic Gay Man Podcast. I'm delighted to have you as a guest today.
Brian Janes 0:12
Thank you so much for having me, I really appreciate the opportunity to talk to you today.
Coach Maddox 0:17
Well, I know just a little bit about the story that you're going to share, and I'm very excited about it, I think it's going to, it's going to change some lives. That's what I'm feeling right now. So to tell the audience a little bit about our history, we really don't have any history. We've never, this is the first time we've spoken today, right here. I happen to be in a Facebook group that I saw him post a post the other day, and was very intrigued by his post, it really drew me in so I reached out to him in a messenger message and said, Hey, I do a podcast looking for guests, would you be interested? And he said, yes, indeed, he would. So here he is. So we're getting to know each other for the first time in front of you, the audience, anything you'd like to add to that, Brian?
Brian Janes 1:07
Um, you know, it's through the group, the Facebook group, the private group, I was using that as a platform to tell a little bit of my story. Because I'm newly out, I was married for 30 years, and just kind of freeing myself a lot of the suppressed secrets that I had been holding on to most of my life and the effects that it had caused on me emotionally, mentally, physically. So that was, why I was using that platform to kind of release myself of some of these secrets.
Coach Maddox 1:48
Well, and the post that I read, was very vulnerable. And I think that is no, I don't think that I know that's what drew me in and, and prompted me to reach out to you. I'm, I'm personally at this point in my life, very drawn to anybody that can be male, female, straight, gay, doesn't matter if they can be real invulnerable, I want to come and sit next to them. So your post drew me in immediately, hence why I reached out to you. So let's start with what does being an authentic, gay man mean, to you?
Brian Janes 2:31
It means living in the truth, living in my flow, being open and receptive. In all aspects of my life, I had been opened in all aspects of my life, except for my sexuality for many years, and I was successful in all aspects except in my sexual life. As for my personal sexual life, my secret. So me being a true authentic man is really living in a very high vibration.
Unknown Speaker 3:11
Coach Maddox 3:13
well, and that's beautiful. I love the way you define that, Brian. And what I'm hearing is that as as fresh and new is the gay thing is, the authenticity is fresh and new. You're you're having a, maybe a first time experience of true authenticity.
Brian Janes 3:33
I have been broken down to my core over the last two years, a cord that I didn't know, that I needed to get to. And after my divorce, I thought I was grappling to regain my life. And through the course of the last two years, I realized I wasn't regaining my life, I was rebuilding it, I was given an opportunity to build myself bigger, stronger, better. And I've taken this opportunity to just dive into an immense toolbox to help me do that.
Coach Maddox 4:12
Well, and in the midst of a pandemic, do you think I know that made it? You said earlier, a bumpy road? But do you think looking back now that that going through that process during the pandemic was a good thing or a bad thing? Did it what may be good or bad? It's not the right word, but maybe did it work well for you, or was it a hindrance?
Brian Janes 4:43
I think everything that is presented to me in my life is presented to me when it is supposed to be would I have liked it to have been not during the pandemic? Yes. Was there a reason for it to be during the pandemic? Absolutely.
Coach Maddox 5:00
Yeah, beautiful. I love that I certainly am. A human being that, at this point in my life believes that life unfolds very purposefully when we get out of the way
Brian Janes 5:14
to where I'm at today, I can see back five, six years that my life was being set up for this. And I had no idea. I was clueless. As I look back today, I have so many aha moments of oh my god, this was because of this, this was leaving me here. This was. So where I'm at today is exactly where I'm supposed to be. I have great days. And I have extremely painful days, but every day gives me the opportunity to learn
Coach Maddox 5:46
well, and it sounds like you're going through a process of connecting the dots. Yes, and that's really valuable at any point in our lives. So we
Brian Janes 5:58
not just for myself, but I have two children. So it's you know, I'm doing this for me, but at the same time that I'm doing this for me, I am 100% and doing this to better the relationship that I have with my children. And also it's giving me an opportunity to teach them living in your truth is so important. You have one life, embrace it and live it to its fullest.
Coach Maddox 6:24
Absolutely. What age are your children Prine?
Unknown Speaker 6:27
15 and 18. Okay, yeah,
Coach Maddox 6:31
wow. Well, we kind of gotten off into our topic, but I'll just retrace this, which is okay. Well, I'll just backtrack for a second, just so the listeners are on board. The, you know, the question that I normally ask is, What is your biggest challenge in life, or that you as you're gotten through or are continuing to work through in course, we're kind of getting the gist that it centered somewhere around coming out. But I know that there's certainly some, some nuances to that story, that are, particularly your nuances. And that's where I want to want to go from here.
Brian Janes 7:11
My biggest challenge is that I have denied myself my truth, up until the age of 51. So I'm learning to not retrain myself. But I'm just learning that all of the thoughts and patterns that I had grown up with and was conditioned through, led me to a space when I was 51 years old to think that everything was shameful about me that everything was bad that I was not a good person, and to allow myself to freely have thoughts and feelings that I once considered shameful or was guilty over. But I don't have to feel that way anymore. And it's really a
Unknown Speaker 8:05
journey. Learning to talk
Brian Janes 8:09
to myself differently, learning to look at myself differently learning to accept myself for the first time.
Unknown Speaker 8:15
Coach Maddox 8:17
absolutely. You have taken on a major, a major undertaking. And it's definitely,
Brian Janes 8:27
and I'm going to do it right, I'm going to do it right this time. Beautiful,
Coach Maddox 8:31
beautiful. So I'll ask you to unpack it a little bit. Denying you spoke of denying your authenticity denying your true self. Let's let's dive into that. And unpack that a little bit. So the listener really knows more about what you're experiencing, or what you have experienced.
Unknown Speaker 8:56
Brian Janes 8:59
growing up as a small child, when I knew that I had these feelings, I had no one to talk to about it. I didn't know what to do with it. So I kind of just went with what I thought I was supposed to do. And even at a young age, it was taking its toll on me emotionally, what I had posted. And I don't know if that's what you wanted to talk about what what I had posted on Facebook.
Unknown Speaker 9:28
Brian Janes 9:29
feel sorry. I'm doing a lot of journaling. And through my journaling things that I didn't know were connected 2030 years ago. It's like this giant wave that Crashes over me realizing all of the different things that I was doing to myself in order to contain myself and through my journaling, the post that I shared on Facebook was about cutting, and how I used cutting as a means to, at the same time, suppress myself, release myself because when I wasn't allowing myself to feel I was not I had no emotional outlet
Unknown Speaker 10:26
was so pressure cooker.
Brian Janes 10:30
That cutting was a way for me to feel and release what I was unable to release in other forms. You know, when you're suppressing your feelings you can't have I don't know. I'm not a crier, like my ex wife would probably pay $10,000 to me cried because I never cried during our relationship because I was so suppressed.
Coach Maddox 10:59
Yes, that makes perfect sense. So I'm aware of what cutting is. But let's assume that some at least some of the listeners don't really don't have any experience of that they've never heard of that. They don't know what you're talking about.
Brian Janes 11:15
So that's suicide. That's it's very different. I wasn't, well. What I was doing to myself was not as an attempt to take my life is an attempt to just release myself have just
Unknown Speaker 11:31
this. What was inside of me
Brian Janes 11:36
to feel, to feel 100% Feels
Coach Maddox 11:39
so yeah, it wasn't about doing serious damage it was. And so you would use a knife or a razor blade, or I would
Brian Janes 11:52
use a razor blade, the very first time I cut myself was next bent. And the very first time I cut myself, I was too young to know what I was doing. But I had reached in a toolbox and My finger got cut by a razor. And I just remember just like it was a zing, it was just like this energy, this adrenaline that raced through my body. I was like oh, and I had cut my finger. And it wasn't until several years later. Probably I think my seventh grade was the very first time that I intentionally cut myself. And I took a razor and I sliced up my thigh.
Unknown Speaker 12:44
Coach Maddox 12:48
So what was going on for you in the moment that you were
Unknown Speaker 12:55
Brian Janes 12:58
not feeling like I was fitting in not feeling like I could share what was going on inside of me with anybody else feeling completely isolated, and alone. Just feeling emotionally bankrupt at that young of an age. I didn't grow up in a religious home. But I grew up in a very, you don't share your feelings, everything looks perfect on the outside. And that's the way they wanted it to be. So I was 100% alone. I lived alone in my head, most of my childhood and teenage years.
Coach Maddox 13:36
Well, and correct me if I'm wrong. But cutting yourself like that, under these circumstances is not really a form of abuse. As much as it's a means to feel, if I understand correctly, from what you're telling me what I have heard from other stories of people that cut it is literally being so numb that you're just craving just an opportunity to feel anything. And the most obvious thing that you have control over is to inflict pain on yourself. And it's not about abusing yourself as much as it's about you just need a vehicle. A means to feel something to feel anything
Brian Janes 14:25
I saw was weeping was weeping and it needed. It needed an outlet and that was my outlet.
Coach Maddox 14:36
And how long did the cutting go on?
Unknown Speaker 14:42
Until I met my wife
Brian Janes 14:44
because I couldn't conceal it anymore. So probably from seventh grade until I was 20.
Coach Maddox 14:50
So no, no, your parents didn't know you were cutting yourself. No friends nobody knew.
Brian Janes 14:56
Cut on my upper thigh. That's only place I cut. And no, nobody knew.
Unknown Speaker 15:06
Coach Maddox 15:07
that must have been a pretty big feat. Just keep that a secret
Unknown Speaker 15:18
I, you know, I?
Brian Janes 15:21
I don't know. I don't know. Wow. I remember my time girlfriend touching my leg and freaking out what happened? What is this? What is this and just drilling me and just feeling
Unknown Speaker 15:41
shame, just feeling absolute shame
Brian Janes 15:48
and not being able just not being able to talk about why making up an excuse?
Coach Maddox 15:53
Yeah, of course. Wow. Hmm. So what was it that came about that enabled you to stop cutting?
Brian Janes 16:06
Wanting that relationship. This is somebody that I was in school with. I had known my wife since ninth grade. She was the first person that I actually felt love for and the first person I felt love from and I didn't want
Unknown Speaker 16:23
to lose that.
Coach Maddox 16:27
And you know, if you kept cutting you probably would
Unknown Speaker 16:31
Brian Janes 16:33
wife was healthy enough that she would not have stayed with me. Yes.
Unknown Speaker 16:39
Coach Maddox 16:43
So you mentioned something in our pre conversation about never having acknowledged what was going on inside of you any any attraction for for men or knowing that orientation was you you were different never, never really giving that any energy at all, never having spoken about it and certainly never having acted on it, which makes your story very unique, I think.
Brian Janes 17:14
Tell us I was in a monogamous relationship with my wife. For 30 years. I had never i My first experience was with a man was after I came out at 51 years old. So I had never had an experience before that. I had always known. I was tormented by the thoughts, the feelings, the voice inside my head screaming that it knew who I was authentically. You know, in my teens, I thought it was manageable because it was a small voice in my 20s it was a little louder. 30s It was a little louder. I'm going to get married in the voice is going to go away. I'm going to have kids the voice is going to go away. I always just hoped and prayed that the voice was going to go away. And it just got stronger and stronger and stronger. So I shared with you that the very first time I spoke the words out loud because I knew and I would shout it in my head. But the first time I spoke the words out loud that I was gay. I was in my car driving to work Monday, I was 47 years old. And I was just, I just couldn't contain it anymore. And I was driving to work and the words slipped out of my mouth. I'm gay. And as soon as I heard myself say it, I started shouting, my almost my entire ride to work. I'm gay, I'm gay, I'm gay. I'm fucking gay. I'm fucking gay. And just allowing myself to hear it out loud for the first time. That was that was the universal shift in my relationship with my wife, I believe because it was around that time that we both kind of started
Unknown Speaker 18:58
Brian Janes 18:59
apart a little bit in different ways spiritually
Unknown Speaker 19:05
and emotionally. That's such a you know,
Brian Janes 19:10
that was you know, the universe is gonna push. If you don't respond, it's going to knock you off your center. And I believe that that was when the universe knocked me off my
Unknown Speaker 19:24
Coach Maddox 19:27
I think out of all of the coming out stories I've heard throughout my life, and particularly men who have come out later in life. There have I don't recall very many that never ever acknowledged it spoke it out loud or acted on it. So many of the men that I have talked to figured it out at puberty and denied it yet. acted on it secretly.
Unknown Speaker 19:58
I thought I could
Brian Janes 20:00
control it, I thought I could keep it suppressed, keep it locked away, keep it under wraps. It presented itself to me over and over and over. And I just continued to deny. And I really lived a life with blinders on. I didn't allow myself, I was too afraid of being exposed, I was too afraid of hurting my wife, she had been my best friend, I didn't want to trade that relationship with her so.
Unknown Speaker 20:33
And when you
Coach Maddox 20:35
finally did say that out loud in the car that day, and kept saying it over and over?
Unknown Speaker 20:42
How did that feel?
Brian Janes 20:47
I went, I got arrived at my office, and I texted my wife and I told her, Hey, listen, I think that I need to work through some stuff, I'm gonna see if I can find a therapist to talk to. And I knew in that moment that I had spoken it out loud. But my intent was to work through it, process it and move on in my relationship with her, I wasn't going to let that change our relationship. It didn't change our relationship. But in the moment, I reached out to a therapist,
Coach Maddox 21:22
it was still something you intended to control.
Brian Janes 21:25
Oh, I told the therapist, I said, Listen, I'm here to tell you my biggest secret. I've never shared this with anybody else. I just told him I just confessed it to myself out loud for the first time last week. But it's going to remain in this office, and I'm going to figure out a way to work around it.
Coach Maddox 21:43
You thought you could put the genie back in the bottle?
Unknown Speaker 21:47
Absolutely. Yeah. Wow. So
Coach Maddox 21:54
energetically, Brian, what would you say? I mean, I know that I I was married for three years, many decades ago.
Unknown Speaker 22:08
And I I lived that,
Coach Maddox 22:11
you know, the lie in an authentic life for a brief period of time. And it it ate me up from the inside out. I I can't even imagine doing it for the time period, I would have not survived I would have been dead. I barely made it through the three years. I was I was on the verge of something really bad if I hadn't have stepped out and and I know that it was really, really hard to do the oppression that I did. And it was brief. What kind of energy did it take to, to keep all of that all locked inside of you? That that denial
Brian Janes 22:55
was our tremendous amount of energy. I feel like I developed physical ailments because I was suppressing myself.
Unknown Speaker 23:09
Well, then there's
Coach Maddox 23:10
there's enough science and medicine to back that up.
Brian Janes 23:13
Coach Maddox 23:14
You know, when when when we are not honoring what's going on inside of us investors like us Sower. Yeah, it creates dis ease in the body body, which then becomes disease. Yes. I lost my best friend in the whole world five years ago at age 52. stage four cancer, and he was a awesome human being. But he he never ever processed. His emotional stuff. I never saw him cry. We were friends for 27 years. I never saw him cry. Yeah, until the day I found out that he had stage four cancer, he cried. But he had a lifetime of emotions bottled up inside of him and I no doctor, no scientist, no one could ever convince me different that I thoroughly believe that. That's exactly why he went down. That cancer was a lifetime of emotion bottled up inside of him that ate him up from the inside out.
Unknown Speaker 24:25
When I'm percent I'm living proof of that.
Brian Janes 24:33
I 100% agree with you on that.
Coach Maddox 24:35
So did you have significant health issues as a result of all that my
Brian Janes 24:42
race diagnosed with multiple sclerosis? I did not have. I wasn't aware that I had it. I went to the doctor for something completely different. In 2014 and in 2008 14 My wife. And I assumed that it was the stress of my career that I was in and thought that I needed to change the way I was living the way I was working
Unknown Speaker 25:17
to help me with
Brian Janes 25:22
finding out that I had a mess and what I was going to do going forward because I was the breadwinner in my family. So when I was diagnosed with that, it was devastating to both of us. No, one thing I want to say, because my older son when I came out to my children, my I've had great conversations with them. They both been very supportive. But my older son said to me, Dad, are you bisexual? Or are you gay? I'm confused. And I said, you know, buddy, I loved your mother. With all of my heart. I loved her as much as I can love another human being. We had an amazing history together. But I'm gay. And it was it hurt. It was like, the shot heard around the world when I came out.
Unknown Speaker 26:16
Brian Janes 26:19
I feel like I would have been denying myself even further. If I had said, You know what? I'm bisexual. I'm still attracted to women. I find women beautiful, but living my true authentic gay self. I am a gay man. In my core.
Unknown Speaker 26:34
Coach Maddox 26:36
I'm right there with you. I can have a deep appreciation for for beautiful women. Yes, women in general, you know, but, and there's no part of me that wants to get sexual with them. Yes. I mean, been there done that I was married for three years. But once that ship sailed it, it never is coming back into port.
Brian Janes 27:03
Yes. i That's where I'm at as well. Yeah. Yeah. It's it's
Coach Maddox 27:07
good to know who you are, isn't it?
Brian Janes 27:09
Yes, this is me. This is me. Coming to my truth, every day, I wake up, and there's, you know, I'm, I'm living my truth. Now I have, I don't know who I am. I've not met my person are, I've not met myself before I was 51 years old. And at 51 years old, I'm just gradually everyday being introduced to my new self. So it's been a struggle, because I had thought that okay, I'm, I'm, I'm releasing this. Now I'm a gay man, I'm a free man. I've told everybody I need to tell. And I'm going to be in the flow of the universe. And I'm just going to be gifted with all these amazing things that I had felt that the universe had been denying me and I was just in the universal flow, and it's my life was gonna just be this amazing dream of mine. And that was a very false reality, because it's not that way at all. It just becomes okay, we're not going to introduce you to your flow until you're introduced to yourself, because what do you know? How do you know what your flow is when you don't even know who you are? So this has been a very challenging two years, since I came out on July 6 2020. And every day, I'm doing something to move myself in the direction of living my truth didn't happen overnight.
Coach Maddox 28:42
You did. You definitely have like a good view of it. You You have what I would consider a healthy level of awareness, self awareness. And you're obviously doing the work. So I want to first and foremost acknowledge you for that, because that's not a that's not a real thing in our community. I mean, there's exceptions, but generally speaking, our community is not really doing the work, not really interested in doing the work. And in my personal opinion, this is why drug abuse, alcohol abuse, sex abuse, and so many other abuses are such a prevalent part of our community, way more so much higher percentages of all of those, as opposed to our our heterosexual male counterparts. We are repressing maybe we're not repressing, that we're gay anymore, but we're repressing a lot of a lot of stuff, a lot of baggage, lots of baggage. And, you know, I just want to applaud you for doing the work. It's important. And that's, I mean, I just talk about that all the time. Because I just think if we're ever going to, as a community have a better existence, we have to do the work.
Unknown Speaker 30:13
Coach Maddox 30:16
tell me a little bit about as you made this proclamation, and you begin to move into your authentic self, being real with yourself being real and honest with those around you. How has that been? How are you as you live into an experience that authenticity for the first time, and I don't mean, first time, first time, because I believe we come into the world, we pop out as babies as fully authentic and fully expressed. And then we get all these crazy messages where we really like completely sever our selves from that part of ourselves. So I think we've all experienced it at an early time in our life. But Lord knows, if you even really remember that, you know, I don't know that I have much memory of that. So as you come into this authenticity, and begin to kind of spread your, your wings of authenticity, how are you experiencing that? Well,
Brian Janes 31:28
me coming to terms with my sexuality at 51, even though I had made this announcement to myself in the current 47, between 47 and 51, I was still very much trying to lock that back up, and not allow that to exist in my life. The first year and a half of my coming out, there was a lot of grief, just not treating myself well at all. Not just really beating myself up emotionally. So just apologizing to myself, I guess I've really been on a journey of just being kind learning to be kind to myself, because my entire life I had told myself I was bad, I was wrong, I was all of these horrible things. So to just, I have set the I don't know the inner child to set him free for the first time to give him a voice to allow me to be a true authentic person that I can share with my children. And you know, my sexuality, I don't want to be identified by my sexuality, I want to be identified as a person that is very well rounded. So there was a part of me that I couldn't share with my kids, I could share with my ex wife. So it's like now that I've released this, now that I'm gone through the process of beating myself up and doing everything I had to do to, you know, free myself, it's really allowing me to have richer relationships. That's the biggest benefit. You know, I would love a relationship with a man that hasn't happened yet. I need like I said, I need to have a relationship with myself first. But it's really allowing me to have relationships to have conversations with depth and meaning and emotion. So
Coach Maddox 33:34
I want to speak to that I want to call that out and clarify that because that's epic. And I want to, and you can can correct me if I'm wrong, but allowing yourself to really have these rich, meaningful relationships is that's not because you came out. That's because you got authentic,
Brian Janes 33:56
because I'm allowing myself to be 100% vulnerable, something I had never allowed myself to do before because I was protecting myself. Yes.
Coach Maddox 34:08
Yes. Okay. Did everybody hear that? Please, please repeat that. Brian's that said again, that's that, that is worth repeating.
Brian Janes 34:17
allowing myself to be vulnerable, I have to be vulnerable. I cannot. I cannot live my authentic true self. I cannot. I believe universally, you attract what you put out there. You have a vibration, your vibration. If you're looking around you and you don't like what you see, that's because that is what's emitting from you. If you want to attract higher quality, better this whatever you want to attract on any level, you need to raise your own vibration, in order for that to in order for you to be a universal magnet to that which you desire.
Coach Maddox 34:57
Love, love, love. spot on, you know, the world reflects back to us who we are you want to know what's going on inside of you. Look what's going on outside of you in your immediate external world, it will always tell you precisely what's going
Brian Janes 35:14
on. Yes. Mirror back to 100% what your thoughts become things.
Coach Maddox 35:20
So I'm hearing you say that the key that opened your life up to these rich and meaningful relationships has been vulnerability. And I agree with that completely. That's my experience. Exactly. How has that you spoke earlier about the years and years of very intense?
Unknown Speaker 35:46
Shame? Yes. And guilt and guilt? Yes. How has being authentic and getting vulnerable? impacted? The guilt and shame? Hmm.
Brian Janes 36:05
Depends, ice. You know what, I thought I was gonna come out and everything was going to be great. I still make mistakes, I still do stupid things, I still allow myself to act out in ways that I shouldn't. So I've had some great experiences with freeing myself in this process. But I've also had some experiences where I was like, Oh, I wish I hadn't done that. I wish, you know, that wasn't that was that was the ego, not the true authentic self coming out in those moments? So that's part of
Coach Maddox 36:44
our humanity? Yes, it is.
Brian Janes 36:46
It's five steps forward. That's part of the two steps back.
Coach Maddox 36:50
Yes. And it's also a rite of passage. Yes. I don't
Brian Janes 36:56
think we as long as I look at it, as long as I acknowledge it, as long as I process it, if I dismiss it, I've learned nothing. As long as I allow it in. I'm only going to learn and move forward, stronger, bigger, better, faster, get into my flow that much quicker. So
Coach Maddox 37:16
absolutely. So I'm hearing that you're allowing yourself to make mistakes.
Brian Janes 37:21
Oh, it's painful, but yes, I am. And
Coach Maddox 37:25
then you're doing forgiveness, some acceptance and some forgiveness? And that's what I'm hearing. Yes. And how does that play a role in the shame and guilt? I mean, I'm hearing that you Yes. You Oh, my gosh, I wish I had done that. Yes, no one is Ill move into shame and guilt or
Brian Janes 37:44
a do because it's old pattern. So pattern. So when something comes at me, and I realize, oh, I screwed up, or maybe too soon, or I wish I hadn't done that. I move, I feel a tremendous amount of shame and guilt. And then I have a conversation with myself, Hey, listen. I don't have to this. I never had to feel shame and guilt over my sexuality. I chose that for myself. And it's having a conversation with myself today saying no, that's an old thought pattern. We're not we don't go there anymore. This is this isn't about this isn't about your sexuality. I don't, I don't have to live a life of shame. I don't have to shame myself. I can just screw up, I can make a mistake and move forward.
Coach Maddox 38:37
You know, I want to call out here too, that this is what taking responsibility for your life looks like Yes. So you know. Yes, we've all experienced shame and guilt. And you're telling me how you are stepping up and not being a victim of that. You're stepping up. You're taking responsibility for your choices, and you're making a different choice, because we do choose shame and guilt. Nobody can impose those on us without our permission. Now, I believe it's Brene Brown, but I'm not 100% Certain Brene Brown, nice, awesome. She says the difference the distinction between guilt and shame is guilt is I did something wrong. And shame is I am wrong. And so that puts them on a completely different level. Guilt is a situational thing. And shame is more of a long term, underlying thing that affects every aspect of our being.
Unknown Speaker 39:45
No, it's conditioning. It's conditioning.
Coach Maddox 39:49
Yeah, the world has shamed us. We have shamed ourselves, but only because we allowed it. Yes, and we chose it. That's important to really realize that. So I'm so glad that you, you brought that up. So you're now making a different choice. Yes, it still comes up because it's cellular, you know, it's cellular memory. And you have a lifetime of that. So it's still presents itself. But now I'm hearing you stop. And you realize that you have a choice. Yes. And you choose differently.
Unknown Speaker 40:25
Yes. Beautiful. Beautiful, I love that. So what else would you like to add? You know, I just
Brian Janes 40:43
part of my process, I think one of the very first books that I read, which really kind of helped me understand thoughts become things and just getting an understanding of that is Napoleon Hills thinking grow rich. I don't know if you've read that book or not. But that is an amazing, very
Coach Maddox 41:03
familiar with it. I read so many books, I can't remember whether I read that. I'm very familiar with
Brian Janes 41:07
it. And some people see the title and think, rich, it's rich in life rich in emotion, rich and feeling rich in just living. And if you know wealth is one of those things that you are desiring as part of your life you can achieve that also. Well in bonds become things
Coach Maddox 41:30
what wealth is a lot like rich, it has a many different meanings wealth, or enrich neither one are exclusive, exclusive to only money, money. I have a friend who writes a blog called wealth beyond money.
Unknown Speaker 41:43
Hmm, yes, yes.
Coach Maddox 41:45
There's a lot of ways that you can be rich. You know,
Brian Janes 41:49
that was a that was a great book to read. In coming out the book, velvet rage that was a great book for me to read to kind of get an understanding of put a put a voice to some of the thoughts I had had in my heart, not put a voice but perspective to some of the thoughts I had had in my head that I'd never expressed or allowed myself to process. So yeah, and
Coach Maddox 42:13
netbook centers mostly around shame. Hmm, excellent. Bus. So Brian, if you could drop some wisdom on the audience. Having been through all that you've been through? What would you like to share? What would be your words of wisdom to maybe help someone else that might be going through something similar
Brian Janes 42:44
words of wisdom I'm so new at this, you know, I haven't lived a life of my true self for 50 years, I'm, I'm everyday I'm, it's evolving. If you ask my children, they'll probably give you a different answer to where I feel like I'm at today. So I feel qualified to give words of wisdom. I just, you know, I, my hope for people is that if you're struggling, that you sit with yourself, my goodness, I learned more about myself sitting quietly with myself, I learned more about myself. Allowing my self to be heard. I have so many downloads, I will you know, I'm not a religious person. I'm a spiritual person, I will pray for a sign I will pray for guidance, wisdom, something, I my soul speaks to me. So if my soul is telling me something, and I'm denying it, that's a sign that I need to pay more attention to that. So for anybody who does not living their true authentic self, I think they know that. I don't think you can do it on your own. I have been in therapy for many years off and on. I've been therapy since my separation and divorce, pretty much full time I do coaching. I exercise I try and just keep my mind body spirits and healthy
Unknown Speaker 44:22
Coach Maddox 44:25
Just you're taking a holistic approach to life. I am I love that you saying it's you can't do it alone. I believe that to throughout my life. I have done an insane amount of awareness and personal development work. I have worked with therapist I've worked with coaches. I've been in mastermind groups, you name it.
Brian Janes 44:46
I have I was in a mastermind group too. Yes. Yeah. And you know, everything is so for people to think that this is all too expensive and I can afford this and I can't do that. There are so many tools out there to help people that you know you don't need to be paying $150 a week to be in therapy. You know if you can, that's great. If you can't, you know, I completely understand. But there are the, with the internet out there with TED talks with all of these different platforms, and social media. There's a lot of great support and help
Coach Maddox 45:23
available. There is a shitload of free content out there. And there is a lot of it. That is really good. Your Podcast.
Brian Janes 45:30
Hello. Thank you.
Unknown Speaker 45:35
Coach Maddox 45:37
I appreciate that. Well, I thought those words were very wise. So I'm going to suggest that you give yourself a little bit of credit just because you've only barked on the authenticity journey in the last couple of years. You are 51 years old, and you have lift a lot of 53 now, yes. Now 53. Yeah, well,
Brian Janes 45:57
I started this process. Okay.
Coach Maddox 45:59
53 looks good. But you you have a lifetime of experience. Don't discount that. You know, and do. Yes, you do. You have managed to keep a relationship going for 30 years. You have two grown children that are almost grown. That sound like they've got a pretty level head on their shoulders and are good, good human beings. Yes, you have a lot of wisdom to share. So let's wrap that up. And it's time for if you're ready, our rapid fire questions. Alright. Are you ready? So rapid fire answers don't have don't overthink this.
Unknown Speaker 46:42
Question number one. What are you afraid of? Mm
Brian Janes 46:49
hmm. Today, I'm afraid of hurting my children. In my process, I think that's been my biggest fear and worry is
Unknown Speaker 47:03
Brian Janes 47:06
I don't fear for myself anymore. I fear for my kids.
Unknown Speaker 47:10
Coach Maddox 47:14
Well, sounds nice here. Sounds like you're doing really really well though. If your son,
Brian Janes 47:20
I'm not always I'm trying. I'm trying. But it's a process.
Coach Maddox 47:25
The fact that your son could could look you in the eye and say so. So Dad, are you? Are you gay? Are you bisexual? That tells me a lot. That tells me a lot. So if you could change one thing about the gay male community, what would that be?
Brian Janes 47:50
Can my one thing and compass 100 I have not had good experience, I have not had a good experience at all. It's just been for me. It's been kind of heartbreaking. I really had this fantasy in my mind of what the gay community was going to look like. And it just seems just shallow and disconnected and extremely sexually charged. I'm a sexual being. But that doesn't need to be my existence. That doesn't define me. Um, I don't know if I could change one thing. offer free therapy to every single gay person so that they can work on themselves and become a better person. Yeah, you're you're kind of telling a story emotions.
Coach Maddox 48:36
You're telling my story that coming out was four, four decades ago, I came out 41 years ago. I in my I thought oh my god, I finally my people. Everything's gonna be okay. These are my people. Everything's gonna be okay. Now. Boy, was I wrong? Well, that first year was awful. I had just a whole string of really painful experiences where I was, I was kind of naive. I was 24. And I was naive. And my 15 month got taken advantage of and used and abused and disrespected. And yeah, it's taken me 40 years to recover from that I've only really begin to recover from that in the last I would say two to three years. There was an element of that, that that took me out of my authenticity and I I've lived on authentically for the better part of four, four decades. And that's kind of been a you know, my, my reemergence and reconnecting with that part of myself has been a really big role player in the why on this podcast.
Brian Janes 49:51
I will not allow myself to live a smaller life. So anybody I allow into my life is going to help Mi expand, it's going to cause me to expand. I found that when I came out my first experiences in the gay community were experiences that were restricting me which were causing me to be smaller than my true authentic self. And I won't allow that for myself. So I feel it feels lonely, because I don't feel like I'm swimming in a big pool. So, but I won't allow that for myself. If you're going to be my friend, if you're going to, you're going to cost me to grow, you're not going to cause me to shrink,
Coach Maddox 50:38
you're going to find some men swimming around in that pool that are like you, you will Yes. It's just maybe not going to be an abundance of them. And you're going to discover them one at a time. It's it's not going to be where you because I'm confronted with this exact same thing. It's not going to be where you walk into a big room and go, Oh, my God, my tribe? Yes. No, we glamorize it, you know, but it's more about, I have worked really hard over the last two to three years. And I do have a circle of men around me some of them locally, that I meet in person, and then some of them virtually, that I know from around the world. And I mean, I have, I have,
Unknown Speaker 51:25
I would say, a nice
Coach Maddox 51:28
sized group of men who will engage in meaningful conversations with me, treat me with kindness and respect, allow me to treat them with kindness and respect this mutual authenticity and vulnerability. It's taken me a lifetime. But I'm here to tell you that it it, it is out there. And as you live more fully into your authenticity and your vulnerability, you're going to attract those to you. Yes,
Brian Janes 51:58
I can do that. I agree with that,
Coach Maddox 52:01
you know, just just keep doing what you're doing and keep just looking for one at a time.
Brian Janes 52:08
There's a lonely component that slips into my
Unknown Speaker 52:12
mind, to my life, and that if I follow that,
Brian Janes 52:18
I'm leading down the wrong path. So it's not it's it's escaping the feeling of loneliness for myself, that
Unknown Speaker 52:28
kind of ticks me off of my,
Coach Maddox 52:30
you've been surrounded with a family for a lot years,
Brian Janes 52:35
you couldn't be in a room full of people and feel more lonely in that room full of people that you feel at home alone. I think proximity to people is I don't know you if proximity people means nothing in terms of loneliness.
Coach Maddox 52:56
I had to make peace with the loneliness
Brian Janes 52:59
made me as well, I guess,
Coach Maddox 53:03
I came to an experience here just about three months ago, where it really went all the way down into my core, I went down into it, and was just being with some loneliness and some sadness, and found this spot deep down inside of me where it was completely comforting. And there was this, this feeling of I was in the sadness and the loneliness. And there was this feeling of oh my god, this is home. Yeah, this is this is a part of me that lives inside of me all the time. Yeah. And I need to honor that part of me. It's a real thing. Yeah. And there was just this sense of comfort and feeling like at home, it's hard to explain any better than that. And, and it in that moment, it changed me it all feels different now.
Brian Janes 53:57
No, I kind of had a similar experience where I've been feeling so lonely since coming out. And I got to the point where I was sitting with myself and had the realization I'm not lonely I had this opportunity to introduce myself to me, why am I not taking this time to introduce myself to myself and that has alleviated a lot of my loneliness because now I wow, this is a brand new person I've never no one I'm so I'm discovering myself which is your kind of takes away the edge of my loneliness.
Coach Maddox 54:35
You're spot on, Brian. And the more you become your own best friend, the less loneliness you'll feel. Yes, I've lived it. I've been single now for 14 years. I live alone, and I spend a lot of time alone. I have a nice social life, but my social life is maybe 20% of my time the other 80% is spent by myself and I am I'm more than comfortable with it. I'm really at peace with it. It's a choice I'm making. I've become my own best friend and spending question I will get a social invitation sometimes and I'll sit in like a like a scale, I'll go there company, my company, and sometimes my company wins. Yes. It wins. Sometimes being
Brian Janes 55:19
alone isn't as lonely as being with other people.
Coach Maddox 55:22
Yes. Well said a very well said. Okay, final question. Alright, final, rapid fire question. You have a time machine. And you can go back to an earlier time in your life, you can choose the age that you visit.
Brian Janes 55:45
But age do you want to visit I don't want to visit my teenage years, you know, I would visit my early childhood. I feel that with my wisdom today, I could have really loved myself as a child, which would have grown throughout the course of my life. And I would, I would, I would have more love for myself. I think that if I had, if I was able to turn back time and love myself, then I would have a greater richer appreciation for myself today.
Coach Maddox 56:32
So so pick an age.
Unknown Speaker 56:34
Oh, um, I have somewhere between
Brian Janes 56:39
six and 10. Okay. Is that okay? That's fine can be arranged. All right. It can be
Coach Maddox 56:45
a range. So if you could visit that little boy, somewhere between six and 10 Knowing what you know now and loving Him the way you now love him. What would you tell him?
Brian Janes 57:00
Oh, don't be so afraid. Don't be so afraid. Oh, God. I lived a life
Unknown Speaker 57:09
Coach Maddox 57:12
I can. I can feel as you word that I can feel I can feel it coming out.
Brian Janes 57:17
Don't be afraid. It's gonna be okay. You're gonna be okay.
Unknown Speaker 57:19
Coach Maddox 57:22
Beautiful. Well, this has been awesome. I really enjoyed your story. I enjoyed your your vulnerability. I enjoyed the wisdom that you shared that how far you've come. I can only hope that the listeners enjoy this as much as I have. Because I think it's been an awesome conversation. And I'm really, really feeling grateful to have had this conversation with you.
Brian Janes 57:51
Thank you. Me too.
Unknown Speaker 57:53
I had a pleasure. Yes, thank you.
Coach Maddox 57:57
Well, and I want to leave you with one thing, Brian. All right. And that is that. In my eyes, I just want to tell you that you are indeed
Unknown Speaker 58:07
an authentic man. Thank you.
Coach Maddox 58:11
I hope you'll let that in. Thank you.
Unknown Speaker 58:13
In March 2019 my high school sweetheart ended our 30-year marriage leaving me shattered and heartbroken at age 50. Her leaving me was a devastating gift because it later allowed me to face a deeply suppressed reality that I was a closeted gay man. With the help of my therapist, I came out on July 6th, 2020 with a very naïve mindset that my life would magically become the suppressed fantasy I secretly dreamed of. In reality it became a deep dark hole in which I was engulfed by a monsoon of shame, guilt, lies, hurt and a new level of loneliness that I could never conceive existed.
Swimming in a sea of depression December 2021 was the absolute lowest point in my life and I resigned to a mindset of just waiting to die.
In January 2022 I decided to make one last effort to improve my life before allowing myself to be swallowed up by a mindset I could not previously escape. I picked up a book (The Fifth Agreement) and this book became my lifejacket and provided the push I needed to commit to shifting my mindset. I declared 6:00 am – 7:00 am my hour of power and declared NO negative thoughts allowed. I have done this for the past 60 days and my mindset is unrecognizable from where I was in 2021. My hour of power has grown and grown over the past 2 months and now encompasses most of my day. These past 60 days have brought richness to my life and I have been a magnet to countless emotional and spiritual gifts.
I understand desperation and the feeling of despair.