June 28, 2022

David Beers shares his journey of discovering "belonging"

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If you have a story that you don't fit in much of anywhere, this episode is the ticket.  My guest, David Beers, shares his story of a family, a school,  and a town where he didn't fit in.  On top of that, his experiences include childhood emotional, mental, physical, and sexual abuse.  As an adult he married a woman, had a child, divorced, remarried and finally came to his moment when he couldn't hide the real him any longer.  The high point of his story is when he shares how he went from totally feeling like an outsider in every area of his life to feeling unique, special, accepted, and appreciated. Now, David lives his life for himself and is excited about all the opportunities to self-express in ways that he has never known.

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Coach Maddox  0:03  
Hello, David Beers and welcome to The Authentic Gay Man Podcast. I'm really glad to have you here.

David Beers  0:09  
And I'm really happy to be here. I've been looking forward to this.

Coach Maddox  0:13  
Yeah, I have been to, I know that you have a great story to tell not great in that it's a happy story, but great in that it's a, it's a story that needs to be told. That's what I mean by great. So why don't? Why don't you tell the listeners how you and I came to this point of recording a podcast together?

David Beers  0:34  
Well, um, so I don't know, about two years ago, two and a half years ago, two years ago, I don't know it's been it's been a minute, I was in a process of kind of working through some issues that I've been dealing with. And I found this men's personal growth spirituality group. And they had a summer boot camp kind of thing, during the quarantine. So it gave me several times a week to interact with people. I'm a very extroverted person. And I love engaging with people talking to people being in the midst of people. And so you were the one one of the people there, and you just had this quiet sense of spirituality about you. And I had signed up for a program and another, another thing, and you had done that too. And so that kind of connected us. And then you went away for a while you came back. But then I started reaching out, and we just started having conversations. And you always had this calming personality, so that when I talked to you, I just, you know, felt felt this great spiritual vibration. And it just made me feel good. Now, when I saw you on the Zoom screen, you were sitting at your desk. And so I had a certain image of you. And then when I met you in Austin, and you were this big, tall person, I was really surprised. But you know, you were just the same person, as you were over the Zoom screen. So it's, it's been really great having you in my life, and having you shared my journey.

Coach Maddox  2:09  
Thank you, David. Thank you very much. That means a lot. I really appreciate that. You know, you just acknowledging that, you know, when I showed up in person, I was the same person that you'd seen on the videos. I don't know that anybody, I've never had anybody refer to me as quiet before. But I love that. And I'm feeling you're in some feelings right now. I'm feeling that. Just very, very honored. Very honored that I can, I can see that there's, you feel a sense of safety here. And it's, it's okay to be vulnerable. I'm glad about that. So take a deep breath.

David Beers  2:49  
I'm good. I'm good.

Coach Maddox  2:50  
And so I'd like to know what being an authentic gay man means to you.

David Beers  2:58  
Oh, wow. That has been my life's journey. But at this point in my life, I think it's not only accepting who I am fully, but but continue on the journey of discovery so that every day, I turn a corner with myself understanding. And I find something new to celebrate, is it's loving myself, and loving the person that I've been the person that I am and the person that I'm becoming, and living that truth and not being not living in shame or doubt, or guilt or fear. But just living my life in the moment. And in the present in and out. And just just celebrating everything that happens, knowing that that somehow is contributing to the person that that I am becoming, as I live out my life, truthfully, and unafraid in the world that I'd have it. That is absolutely beautiful.

Coach Maddox  3:57  
Thank you so much. You know, when I started this, it never dawned on me that I was going to be the recipient of so many men really enlightening me about what it means to be an authentic gay man. And it's just been epic. It's been because everybody comes up with a different answer. And they're all right. And that's what's so beautiful

David Beers  4:20  
about that. The great thing about it is that, that everybody, and that's what I in these groups that I belong to, um, I felt that we're on the path together. And each of us has come from a different place and is going to a different place. But at that particular moment, we're in the path together, supporting each other and loving each other and encouraging each other. And that's been really important to me.

Coach Maddox  4:46  
Yeah, it's been really important to me, too. It's been a game changer. Actually. I've throughout my life had that kind of support and those people on the path with straight people, but it's only been in the last couple years. Is that I've experienced that with other gay men. And it was a piece of my life that was missing without me even really knowing it was missing. It's been such an incredible gift. Yeah,

David Beers  5:11  
I feel it is. Absolutely.

Coach Maddox  5:12  
So let's get down to our big question for the day. Thank you for that. And that is what is the biggest challenge that you've had to overcome in your life or are still in the process of overcoming.

David Beers  5:32  
When I was a little boy I grew up in North Central Florida, and we moved when I was about seven, and I left behind my grandparents and my cousins and my aunts and uncles. And we moved off to where I grew up in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. And I felt isolated and disconnected and alone. My parents had their own issues and their own dysfunctions that people of their generation never dealt with, emotionally or psychologically. And so a lot of their family, family trauma, their family dysfunction came into our family. And so I grew up in that very dysfunctional household where I was emotionally and verbally and physically abused, and never felt loved, or accepted by my father. I was used as an emotional surrogate for my mom, and I was the late bloomer, non athletic glasses wearing outlier in my family of blond haired, blue eyed, athletic, other children. And so I always felt different, I felt different from the people that I went to school with, different from the people in the town that I grew up at, that I grew up in, and, and never found my place. Never felt that anybody particularly liked me or cared for me, as second grade me one good friend, and we're still in contact with each other. And we were friends all through school until we both moved away. And I recently found out that this person is also gay. And I made me laugh, because I said, all those things we did together, we could have been boyfriends. But when I was in fourth grade, this is all connected. I remember liking a certain boy and liking a certain girl. And not, you know, not in a physical sexual way, but just liking them wanting to be friends with them. But I knew if I were friends with the boy, that that would be bad. And so I kind of veered toward the girl. Although nobody really saw me that way. I think a lot of people picked up on my, my inherent otherness. But shortly after that, I was in the boy scouts, and we went on a camping trip. And the scout leader started fooling around with me and ended up Warley assaulting me. And then that happened three more times, over the next year and a half or so. And the thing the thing is, is, I didn't realize at the time, that that is something. I mean, I knew it wasn't something that I should be doing. But I liked it, it felt good. And so but what happened is afterwards, other people talked about it, and I was even more ostracized, and I've been before. And the thing that really, really is painful for me, at this point in my life, to realize is one that even if people knew about it, nobody ever said anything to me, no, or a book came to me. Nobody ever tried to figure out what was wrong with me. The same thing that would happen in my family, everybody knew the situation in my family, and nobody stopped to try to help any of us. And that really, you know, you hear the story of, of the man lying in the road and the people walking across the street to avoid and there was nobody that crossed the street to help me when I was a child. And it really was traumatic and confusing for me to the point where my parents sent me to live with my uncle when I was 16 years old. And I lived with my uncle for two years and then I went to college and lived on campus for three years. And so I basically Octoman 16 I was still was very confused, still feeling very strongly sexually attracted to men but knowing that I had to have sex and be married to a woman. And in college, I got involved in a Methodist campus ministry. And the director there was very open and affirming and accepting of me as a person

who never talked about my sexuality issues. But he just made me feel like I belonged. And that's something that I've never felt growing up. And so that really kind of opened that door to me. And it kind of seemed to me that, that even though my experience is going up in the church, and up in that, that this was an experience of religion, that that mattered and made a difference. And so that that kind of was, that kind of was a pain in my life, as far as my spiritual growth. And then I graduated, and I worked in the computer industry, I was a programmer and an analyst and ended up in Miami as a data processing manager at a manufacturing company. And there was this person that I met, who I had this, this, this very strong crush, and you know, the kind of guy that it is, you know, he presents the straight, and you never follow through on anything, but he's also the one that that keeps you close, and affirms you emotionally. And, and at this point in my life, I recognized that, that he was a narcissistic person using me as a way to affirm him, because I think he knew I would never follow through. But did he throw things like I love you and just kind of look at me, and I was just like, totally, totally blown away by it, and went to seminary and became a minister, got married to a woman had a baby got divorced, got married to another woman. And after 12 years of extremely toxic marriage, I finally left. And I finally said, you know, now is the time to quit fooling around, but walking to the edge of the cliff, and looking over and being terrified, you're gonna fall into a pit, and just take that next step. In fact, one of the conversations I had with my therapist at the time is, you know, what are you afraid of? And I told him, I don't know what's gonna happen, I'm afraid what's gonna happen? He said, what's the worst that can happen? I said, I don't know. He said, Well, why not try? Why not move forward and be sobbing, paralyzed. And so finally, I came to the point where, where I was able to do that, and I left, my second wife. I moved in with my son. And one of the first questions my son said to me, he goes, Dad, I go, what? He said, Tell me, I said, Tell me tell you tell you what Dad told me. I said, Oh, that I'm gay. He said, Yes, finally, thank you. And he'd had a very, you know, difficult childhood, with my marriages, and his mother's marriages, and all of that. And that really broke down a barrier between us because then he was able to become vulnerable with me. And we've gotten a lot closer relationship as he becomes an adult, and we deal with each other, not so much as parent and child, but as two people that know each other, and love each other, and accept each other. And that's been really significant to me. And so I started just kind of living my life as a gay man, I didn't know what to do. When the first things I said in this other group that we were in, as, I don't know how to be gay. I mean, I know about the sex part, the six parts easy, because I've been thinking about it for, you know, all my life, but, but the emotional part of the living it out being a relationship in a different way, where you're not just holding back, being afraid to tell another man how you feel about him. And so, you know, I, I had never really had a real emotional relationship with another man. I've had sex several times. But, but also to just being free myself, to be able to have sex with men, has been liberating to my soul in the sense that I don't have to be afraid of it, or ashamed of it, or feel guilty about it. It's just part of who I am and living that out. As part of my truth. My whole spiritual focus has shifted from a very traditional, I won't say conservative, but traditional kind of mainline Christian faith until a very much more open and accepting and affirming kind of faith. I've been taking classes and are finishing up my project and taking a look at the gods certificate of, of sexuality and religion at Pacific School of Religion, which is out in Berkeley, so you know, where they stand theologically, but it's been really wonderful. and to be in a diverse community of, of, you know, men and women and trans people in and, you know, persons of color, and people that are younger and older. And it's just been an amazing eye opening experience that says,

No, pull the curtain back on a whole nother way of thinking. And so it's really been very exciting and invigorating for me to do this. And in the process. About five years ago, I moved back to Murfreesboro because my father died. And just to throw this on top of it, is that I wondered why I waited until he died. And I think deep down that that was one of my fears. One of the fears that was holding me back is that I was afraid of my father. I'd always been afraid of my father. And so I waited until he was at the end of his Alzheimer's to make this move in my life. And that came back to Murfreesboro. And I live here, because my mom is in her 80s and need somebody close by to help route. So I've been doing that. I teach high school math now. And every day, every day is an opportunity for me to kind of look at myself and say, Okay, what do you need to let go of? What do you need to put in the past? And what do you you know, how do you how do you focus on what's happening right now in your life. And I had to learn to forgive myself for having to take the time to get to where I am going that finally understanding that everything I went through, up to this point has gotten to be where I am, if I hadn't experienced that, that I wouldn't be where I am. To the fact where it's, it's just I think that I wouldn't have been ready at 20 or 25 or 30. I think that my emotional brokenness, and my codependency and all those issues would have led me into a more self destructive lifestyle. If I hadn't been so in control of myself, until I was ready to let go.

Coach Maddox  17:26  
Yeah. Am I hearing you say that there's even a little bit of gratitude for your, for your experiences? i You didn't use that word. But I'm Oh, yeah, I'm an empath. And I'm feeling your feelings right now. And when you talked about all of these experiences, making you the man that you are today, I say this frequently, you know, I wouldn't want to relive those painful experiences, but I wouldn't trade for them either. Because without those experiences, I wouldn't be who I am. And at this point in my life, I very much love who I am. Well, you know, I would not have been able to go to seminary as an out gay man would not have been ordained in the United Methodist Church 30 years ago is now gay man. But when I have my wonderful son, if I didn't marry his mother, or, you know, and and, and I reconciled with my second wife, not so much my first fight, but my second wife, we reconciled and have become the friends that we were when we first met. And, you know, the thing is, that being with her, gave me the stability I needed to continue to raise my son, but also the strength to leave the church that was extremely spiritually abusive, and was not something that I believed it to be before I went into ministry. Yeah. Yeah. Well, you you have shared kind of a 30,000 foot overview of of what your life has been, and it's been a full life, and you've experienced a lot. I would love with your permission to go back and maybe unpack a few items along the way. Would that be okay,

David Beers  19:17  
that'd be fine. Sure.

Coach Maddox  19:19  
Well, I think one of the significant things that you said was the camp counselor, or the or the camp Scoutmaster, whatever, I don't remember now the term you used. And how he took advantage of you. How old were you at that age?

David Beers  19:36  
About 10? Yeah. Okay.

Coach Maddox  19:39  
And that went on for a period of time. How would you say, how has that played a role in your life has that affected the way you navigate life and affected? I mean, we usually take experiences like that and we make them mean something. And oftentimes we made something Make them mean something about us. We go through an experience like that, and we apply generally three meanings. It's a meaning the world is people are and I am.

David Beers  20:16  
I do know that experiencing the reaction of my peers and those people around me the bullying and the authorization that I felt as, as I believed it was, I said, you know, I said to myself, and this may or may not have been true, but I said, everybody knows, everybody thinks I'm a freak. Everybody thinks I'm a little sissy, a little, you know, queer boy. And, you know, and made me very self conscious, very insecure, very turning it back on myself and not, and not celebrating the fact that it was okay to be different and explore, because I did explore a little bit, but I never was strong enough to break past that fear of total rejection.

Coach Maddox  21:03  
So am I hearing you say that you're the main maybe the meaning was that you weren't okay. Yes, yes. Yes. Is that what I'm hearing?

David Beers  21:14  
Yes, that Well, I always thought that I always felt in my relationship with my dad. I always felt like I could never satisfy, make him happy. I never could do anything right. For him. I was always getting criticized for the things that I did wrong. And that, you know, I never lived up to anybody else in the family. And so that, you know, I was pretty much a failure.

Coach Maddox  21:39  
And so how did that show up in your behaviors? David? Well, because we usually when we have something going on like that, there's this whole compensation thing that we step into, it's human nature.

David Beers  21:52  
I went into ministry. Everybody loves a preacher, right.

Coach Maddox  22:00  
So that was your way of, of compensating for what you didn't feel like you had that not enoughness. My understanding was to find a means that you could step into a position that would give you a sense of meaning a sense of enoughness. Yes. And how, how did that play out? You did indeed become a minister, how did that play out? Did it achieve what you had hoped that it would achieve? When you embarked upon that,

David Beers  22:37  
in some ways it did. People liked me. I mean, I'm very, to be modest, very likeable person. The thing that I get told is, I'm so sweet. I'm so adorable, which is something that gay men that you want to hear from other people. But you know, I, I found my voice, and I became a very good communicator. And so people liked coming to hear me preach. And I'm an I'm a teacher. And so that was always a great part. But I was always, I was always resistant to the power structures. One of my professors in seminary said, that I'm the kind of person that walks into a room immediately looks for a wall to start pushing against. And so I didn't play the game very well. And so along the way, I made several people unhappy, and I can't handle conflict. Well, I mean, I guess I'm better at it now. But conflict has always been something that I've run away from, because there's a lot of anger, and, and, and fighting and yelling in my family. And so that's something that I tried very hard to avoid, if I can. And so when those kinds of things happen, I just simply emotionally disconnect. And so the first church I went to was the church that my mom's family been a part of. So that was kind of an outlier thing. In the sense that everybody there, remembered my mom and my grandmother and my great grandparents. And so, you know, everybody loved me. But after that, it was not the same experience. And that and personal issues in my first marriage kind of blew up in my face, and left me in a very dark place. And my first wife left. It really broke my heart. Because I was trying very hard. I will say this, and I've had a conversation with somebody about this several years ago, that I think my experience in ministry might have been better than what I experienced, if I'd been able to serve authentic, authentically, with integrity as my real self and not trying to show somebody the mask that I thought they wanted to see. And I think that's My, my preaching resonated more than parts of my ministry. Because when I was preaching, that was just me. I wasn't trying to put on any facade, I was just simply me connecting to, you know, the cosmos, the universe, God, whatever you wanna call it. And, and so that part connected with people, because I really meant it, I was very sincere in it. And other times, I was really working very hard not to be somebody that they would like. Yeah,

Coach Maddox  25:33  
okay, I'm following you. I'm getting a little bit of an intuitive hit now, if I can articulate it. Now, we started off with a question, what have you had to overcome, and you have many things that you have had to overcome. And what the intuitive voice is saying, you know, all those things are things that are now locked in time in the past, they happen in a specific time. And this maybe is coming through for the first time, we always think that those are the things that we had to overcome. But what we've really had to overcome, and sometimes we continue to have to overcome is what's left in the wake, the wake of those experiences. Yeah. In other words, all of our interpretations of the experiences, experiences or the experiences and they're back there in their history and their water under the bridge already. We've endured those we've gotten to the other side of those. And yet, oftentimes, our bigger challenge than the actual experience itself, are all of our interpretations of those experiences. I would love for you to speak on that speak on the interpretations that do you feel like you have gotten all of those interpretations behind you as well? Are those still things that you're being challenged with on some level, and are still working on uncovering unmasking? And rewriting the story of those interpretations? We can't rewrite history. We can't rewrite the experience. But we can rewrite our response to the experience. Yes, I did a certain way when it happened. But we're still responding to it all these years later, we're still responding to that experience. And that's where our power lies is in our ability to change our response.

David Beers  27:53  
Yeah, I think no, I'm totally there with you. I think that the experience event over the last couple of years or so has really allowed me to embrace all those things to embrace my weirdness as not as something that that is wrong or not right or broken. But it's, it's a differentiation of me that celebrates my uniqueness as a person. Because I'm not like you, I'm not like, the other people in the group that we're in. I'm not like the people that I work with. I'm specifically uniquely me in this moment of time. And that's important because I make a difference in the lives of people that I that I'm around and really has, has allowed me to embrace that. And in fact, in my teaching, amount to my students, and a lot of the of the queer kids, it's cool, gravitate towards me and feel supported by me, because I'm being authentic. And it makes a difference for them to see that in an adult. And so I really am happy that I'm able to do that. And I'm happy that I'm able to celebrate my difference in relationships, and starting to take more risk and be open with people. I just had my real first in person date in since 2003. And that was a really fun time, you know, without any expectations without any other thing than just being with another person and enjoying going out to eat with them and watching a movie and other things. It was really, it was very, very freeing and just allowing myself to enjoy myself to, you know, to participate in activities that I that I had always said, I can't do that that's wrong. I don't want to do that, but free myself, too. So to be wholly myself, and I think the intellectual stimulation from my studies at PSR has really helped me to kind of put my religious experience my spiritual experience in a context that allows me then to get out of the box that other people built for me. And I think that's been the really the best part of the last five, six years of my life. When I came out, I said, You know what, I'm going to not let anybody tell me who I have to be anymore. And I'm going to let the church and my glint my wives, my parents segment, he bites on who I am, I'm going to figure out who I am, and be who I am, in the moment that I'm living. And so it's been exciting to be on that journey of discovery. And, and, and really to look back and I think you're right, and recognizing those parts of me that have always been there, that I never acknowledged, or I, I kind of said, well, that doesn't really matter. But it really does. And it really makes a difference. And I think that my life is so much better. Now, even though I still deal with depression. Even though I still deal with anxiety. That's a physiological thing that's that this was exacerbated. But, but the fact that I've living my life in a way that I never thought possible 1015 20 years ago, which is really exciting. And I can start to look at my life and, and imagine my dreams coming true. You know, I'm 62 years old, I retired about five years, and thinking about how I can move towards being at a place when I retire and don't have to work anymore, where I can just go and do those things that are my passion and my joy, and, and continue to give my life reaching out to people who have struggled like me, who have felt alone and afraid and isolated, and who went, who need to hear that they are exactly the way they were created to be perfect. And without any kind of negative thing. And once a embrace that, their life will open it up for that.

Coach Maddox  32:08  
So that's beautiful. And I do want to unpack something, because I I'm getting it but I want to make sure that my listeners are getting it and and that is you started your story talking about how you just were an outlier, and you didn't fit in anywhere. There was just this I'm I'm the only one like me type feeling. I don't fit in, in any regard in any part of anything that life that's presented itself thus far. And now you're telling a story. All these years later, of embracing and celebrating your uniqueness you took what was the painful part, the hard part? And you turned it into perhaps one of your superpowers. That's what I'm getting out of this story that you're telling. And I'd like to understand. How did you do that? I mean, I know you've gone through the story. But on that internal level, how did you take and come take? Or how did you? How did you come from this mindset of I don't fit in anywhere? I'm the oddball. I'm the freak. I'm the weirdo, too. I'm unique. I am special. I have something powerful to offer. How did you go for because those are extremes of the continuum. And there's all this middle area in there. And you went through a middle area work for probably a long time. But tell us how you got from point A to point B, how did you What did you do? What did you think? How did you change internally that allowed you to you're the same person in some regards. You're just operating from a different mindset. You're the same David. That was the little boy that didn't fit in. But you've changed your mind and when you changed your mind you changed your life. Absolutely. I want to hear how you changed your mind.

David Beers  34:31  
Well, I like to I like to mention this conversation with my I have with my father not every part of my my experience. My dad was horrible. He really did love me. He just didn't know how to be a father. My brother and my sisters look like my my dad's and my dad's family and my dad looks like his brothers and sisters. And I look like my mom's side of the family which is okay because they're better looking people but I always thought that was a barrier between us because I didn't look like him. And, and so I said something about not looking like the beers and my dad goes, well, you're what the beers look like now? And which really, I don't know if he recognized how profound that statement was. Because it allowed me to step back and look at the way I've been thinking about it, because Oh, that's right. That's right. I have my dad has a younger brother who has a son is a year younger than me. And he's 664. And I'm five, eight. And his mother is from Scotland. And so he looks like his mom. And I look like my mom. And so when we both lived in Miami, people that knew us both go, Well, how can you because he's you don't look alike? And I said, Well, we're cousins. We're not, you know, we're not twins. So you know, we can be very different, but still be related to each other. So

Coach Maddox  35:58  
I have to ask before I forget, how old were you? When dad said, Well, you look what like what the beers look like now? I was in my 30s. Wow. Wow, it was a defining moment, wasn't it?

David Beers  36:16  
Yeah. Defining Moment. But I really have to, you know, okay, so when I started this, this group thing that we did, I couldn't afford it, you know, all the pricey, extra modules. And so I said, What can I What can I do, you know, got to do this on the side, and a book was recommended. The Power of Now, I'm sure you've read that. And it really kind of allowed me to step back and go, Okay, you know, the past your past is kind of like a photo album that you look back. But you don't really remember that you just get the snapshot of different things that happened. But the context and the feelings are not there anymore. It's just picture. And the future is trailers, coming attractions. But, you know, sometimes the trailer is anything like the movie is. And so the only thing I have going on is right now. And how can I make the most of right now in a way that, that uses everything about me to do the things that I want to do? And to set my life on a path that I want to go on? Because if the path I'm going on doesn't get me where I want to go, then, okay, what are you to shift that path. So I go to where I want to go. And the only way to do that is to move, move where you are, take a step in another direction, doesn't mean you have to get to, you know, if I'm going to, to Atlanta, I'm going to go southeast, but if I want to go to Dallas, I have to go southwest. And there's many places along the way, I can change directions. But I had to change directions. And so I had to stop thinking about all the ways that I had stifled myself and restrained myself and told myself that I couldn't do what I wanted to do and just say, You know what, I am going to do what I want to do, I am going to be who I want to be. And if people have problems with it, I'm not going to be around them. I'm not going to put myself in a situation where I allow their negativity to influence me. And it really has made a difference. It really has

Coach Maddox  38:30  
changed. It required you to let go of the

David Beers  38:33  
past didn't did. It did and you

Coach Maddox  38:36  
don't have the memories still but you've let go of, of the way it dictates your life. You know, I always I say to my clients frequently, when we drag our past into our present, it becomes our future. Right? Right. And there's a percentage of the world out there that's living in their past. They have dropped, drag it into their present. And I'm hearing you say that that was something that had to go in order for you to move forward.

David Beers  39:12  
When I was a little boy, I told you that we left Florida to move to Murfreesboro when I was about seven I left Murfreesboro in 1984. And when I was in my mid 20s And I lived in Florida for 34 years. And I am when I think and then I left Florida to come back and be with my mom and my brother goes is this something you've always dreamt of doing? I see no. This is the last place I ever thought I'd go back to but I do know a couple of things and this a tie into the putting the past in the past is coming back to Murfreesboro has allowed me to work through the negative experiences and feelings I've had about the place no that, no, it's not the place. And the people that were there and no longer here, the people that were there are the same people there, there were, I've got a problem, I went through a process of reconciling with the spirits of the land and this place so that I continue to lick I'd like my feelings of anger and animosity to a location that had nothing to do with my experiences. But I also know that once I'm through helping my mom, that I'm not going back to Florida, I went back to Florida, to recapture what I thought was important in my life. And my time in Florida was significant. And I celebrate that, but I want to move to someplace different, where this new David can live his new life in a way that he can celebrate, without worrying about everything, without packing that extra bag for the past.

Coach Maddox  40:57  
Beautiful, I love it, David, I love it. So if you were going to drop some wisdom on the listener about there, because your story, although your story is unique to you, there are some elements of your story that are shared by many of the listeners out of it out there, there are so many of us that had a dark period of our lives where we didn't feel like we fit in anywhere. And you've come to this place where you have found your place. You do fit in now, when you choose to fit in, you fit in where you choose to fit in. And you have come to the other side of your challenge in many, many ways. What wisdom can you share with the listener, on on how they might

David Beers  41:56  
do what you've done?

Coach Maddox  42:05  
Its own person, that person that's still struggling with I don't fit in,

David Beers  42:09  
right? First thing you do is you Stop, just stop. One of the things that that I tend to do is I tend to get caught up and I get moving in direction or get thinking and it's just all this, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, just stop, I had to stop. And I had to decide that what was going on in my life. As much as I tolerated it before, as much as I loved it to control it before, that I couldn't continue to be that way. I just had to stop. I just stopped and I had to say to myself, if I don't matter to anybody else, but to myself, that's, that's enough. That's important enough. So I think the first thing you have to do is, is realize that you matter, and, and you matter, because you are who you are, and that you're important and and your ability to care for yourself is the most important thing that you can do in your life, once you recognize that, and and provide that, that that emotional boundary for yourself so that you are only allowing in those things that nurture and build you. And you're doing that intentionally for yourself. And then you can begin to see how the fact that you you know, that you perceive yourself is so different that you didn't fit in. But imagine I'm in my my apartment, my walls are still that kind of brownish beige color, they paint it, and it's very played. But then I've been in places where they put a little tiles, little mosaics with old pieces of tile have different colors. And each part is different and unique in a different shape, different color. But all together they make the larger picture. And I'd always believed in a higher power, I always was connected to the universe, I've had very deep spiritual experiences. So I always was aware of that part of myself. But what I began to accept is, is that didn't matter to the universe. I always believed that, you know, what, I couldn't do it myself that God loved me that Jesus loved me and the context of my faith tradition, but that I'm mattered to the universe because I was here. So if you if you learn to step back and know that, that you're important to yourself, and to the universe, and the universe has put you here for a particular reason to be who you are. Then you can begin to celebrate the fact that you're that special piece of tile that fits in right where you're supposed to be to make that Huge cosmic picture. That is beauty before beyond imagination.

Coach Maddox  45:08  
I would call that self love.

David Beers  45:10  
Yep, yep.

Coach Maddox  45:13  
Yep. Wow. Hmm. Beautiful. Thank you so much for that. Well, I loved your story. I loved your courage. And I know that it's going to have an impact on those who are blessed enough to listen to it. Do you have anything else you'd like to say before we move into rapid fire questions?

David Beers  45:41  
I just wonder what do you have left to ask me that I haven't already talked about like, Yes, I'm ready. Okay.

Coach Maddox  45:49  
So question number one. When was the last time you cried in front of another gay man? Um, aside from right now.

David Beers  46:03  
I've been crying the whole time. If you're wondering, I think in Austin, because I really don't have a lot of gay friends. And like my date, we didn't cry.

Coach Maddox  46:13  
Okay, beautiful. What is the one thing that you clearly need to take action on in an effort to be even more

David Beers  46:25  
authentic? Just stop worrying about the things that I don't have and celebrate the things that I have.

Coach Maddox  46:46  
Beautiful. And final question, if you could go back in time and say anything to your younger self? How old would you go back to? And what would you tell him?

David Beers  47:01  
Holy cow, there's about five or six places. I think I go back to that 10 year old boy. And tell him that what happened to him was not his fault, and that he is special, and that he is loved.

And while his parents can love Him the way He wants to be loved that, that he they do love him, and that he is somebody that matters to them to the world, and that his life is good. Beautiful. Thank you, David.

Coach Maddox  47:50  
So I would just love to to let you know that it's been a true pleasure to have you as a guest on the podcast. I love the vulnerability that you brought. I'm sure some of the listeners have picked up on the the choke that voice and but yes, he has been emotional through a majority of the conversation today. And it's such a gorgeous example of vulnerability. And it makes me understand you better and it makes me know you better. And it makes me love you better.

David Beers  48:24  
Well, thank you. I tell people I try I cry attractive poles in Walmart, Walmart openings, but

Coach Maddox  48:30  
yes, I'm mighty sensitive, sell myself, so I get it completely.

David Beers  48:36  
We. But like you said, I think my vulnerability and my ability to deal with other people's is one of my superpowers.

Coach Maddox  48:48  
I say that all the time. Vulnerability is my superpower. So we share that. You know, it's interesting how many people would say, you know, there's so many people that think vulnerability is weakness? How could that possibly be your superpower? But I continually say the people that think vulnerability is weakness are people that's never would never have experienced vulnerability, or they would no different. Absolutely. Because vulnerability is courage. At its best. Yes. So, thank you so much, my friend. I want to leave you with one thing. And that is to tell you that you are indeed an authentic gay man.

David Beers  49:30  
Thank you. Thank you. Thanks, Maddox. Thank you

B David BeersProfile Photo

B David Beers

Educator, Theologian, Historian, Mathmetician and Poet

I am a Florida native. I grew up in Middle Tennesee and then moved back to Florida in the 80s and spent most of my adult life there, the last 20 years in Miami. I moved back to Middle Tennessee to be close to my mom after my father died. I also spent most of my life, denying, repressing, and compartmentalizing my true self. After two failed marriages to women, I finally allowed myself to accept all of who I am. My life has been in constant motion, I have moved 17 different time. I’ve worked in IT, was an ordained United Methodist minister, and finally a high school math teacher. I am the very proud parent to a 27-year-old. Even though I am a person who is their 60s, I am still in the beginning stages of fully discovering my full authentic self and being able to live that with integrity. My passion has always been to share the love I have felt from the Cosmic Source with others and to leave this world a better place when I move on to whatever is next.