Aug. 2, 2022

Jeremy Long gets real and finally tells himself the truth

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Jeremy Long's story starts with a family that didn't know how to validate or love him.  He intentionally mimicked one of the characters in "Queer As Folk", when he was only 16.  An addiction to drugs and all the chaos that went along with it, landed Jeremy in rehab, not once, but twice before he had his transformational moment.  Jeremy finally told himself the truth. When we remove the blockade, the Universe can work its magic in our life.  Now, in his upper 30s, Jeremy talks about his life of passion, purpose, community and, above all, self-love.  If you ever feel like you aren't enough, you'll want to listen to this one.

Jeremy is a coach, queer facilitator, and founder of The Conscious Queer Community.

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Coach Maddox  0:03  
Hello, Jeremy Long and welcome to The Authentic Gay Man Podcast. It's good to see you. And I'm glad to have you here today.

Jeremy Long  0:10  
Yeah, thanks. It's good to be here. It's good to see your face.

Coach Maddox  0:14  
Thank you, thank you. Well, to tell the listeners how we know each other, you listen to the podcast found at some way or another, listened and went to my website and clicked a link and filled out a form saying you wanted to be a guest. And that's how we connected. So aside from a brief zoom call a couple of weeks ago, Jeremy and I really don't know each other. So today is going to be our opportunity to get to know each other as you guys get to know him as well. So before we jump into our main topic, I would like to ask Oh, and I also want to add that for the listeners, that Jeremy is a coach, he is a queer facilitator. And He is founder of The Conscious Queer Community. And he and I have a lot in common actually, we're doing a lot of similar work with the GBTQ community. And so I'm just glad to have him here. Now, he has agreed today to come on board, not so much as the coach, but wearing his personal hat today, and he's going to share some of his personal story with us. So before we jump into that, though, tell me how would you define what it means to be an authentic a gay man? 

Jeremy Long  1:37  
That's such a big question. And I just appreciate everything you've even said so far. Just the ability to just know yourself and feel confident enough to show yourself maybe that's what if that's as simple as it needs to be?

Coach Maddox  1:53  
I love that. And I love the simplicity of it. You know, I every time I ask that question, I get a completely different answer. And yet, every single answer I've gotten has been absolutely amazing. Yeah, it's been absolutely amazing. So all right, perfect. I love what you said, and the simplicity of it. Now for the big kahuna, what has been your biggest challenge in life that you had gotten through or are continuing to work through?

Jeremy Long  2:25  
Yeah, that's also a big question. I mean, just my journey has just been a bit of a roller coaster, I would say. And my biggest, I guess, hurdle has been myself, learning to overcome my own barriers that I set in the way. And I guess those are, you know, have been placed there by some of my experiences in my younger years, but it's just about my self esteem, my self worth, I guess, my journey and just learning to discover and embrace and celebrate who I am, has been kind of painful, kind of challenging. But also, it's given me my biggest sense of purpose now, because that's what I also want to offer other people is anyone that's been in a tough spot or doesn't know how to be themselves and is feels, you know, afraid to be brave enough to show themselves to others. I guess that's it's actually given me the deepest sense of purpose. But some of the highlights on the challenges have been just not believing in myself for most of my life, not feeling like I had a sense of a calling or a purpose, some self medicating in some pretty intense addiction years in my past. And I guess, just being willing to step out of my comfort zone and believe that I'm capable of something bigger, that's probably another huge hurdle that I've overcome. I just didn't want to try anything, I was just terrified of getting it wrong, and making a decision that could lead me somewhere bad, and therefore I made no decisions. And that was also a hurdle that I've had to overcome. So I probably feel like there's multiple challenges. My current challenge is getting out of my own way, when it comes to making sure that people know this work is available, like doing this deep inner work that you and I have talked about in that work, you know, we're on that life path is doing this deep inner work and taking responsibility. And now it's just making sure that I know or that I put myself out there to let people know that, hey, you can do this too. It doesn't have to be as hard and you don't have to do it alone. That's probably my biggest message to people right now.

Coach Maddox  4:35  
So Jeremy, can you recall any specific event in your childhood or at an early time in your life that you think set those hurdles that those challenges up?

Jeremy Long  4:49  
Oh, yeah, there's definitely a couple of them. I mean, yeah, just a few are growing up in a pretty small country town in interior British Club. I'm via Canada. So sort of like a semi arid desert, little small town that had a lot of just not very progressive. And so you know, just that element of learning how to hide from such an early age as all queer people like sort of begin in a bit of trauma, like learning to hide and become a chameleon and not be ourselves. So that's one family with not a lot of money, broken family and divorce, and some pretty poor communication skills modeling. So that also, I didn't know how to cope, I was a person that was like, highly sensitive and highly emotional. And people didn't know how to be with me or teach me how to be with myself. And so that also led to a lot of emotional pain. And not literally just not knowing how to cope. And that's probably one of the also one of the number one thing that I've learned or am continually in the process of learning is how to just be okay with myself being in that resilient emotional self. So yeah, those are a couple of highlights. And then when

Coach Maddox  6:08  
you're describing maybe a common thing in our community here, I've already had some conversations today, and I'm a highly sensitive person. HSP. Sounds like you are I've talked to other people today that are both HSPs. And I know for me, I didn't, I didn't figure that out until about maybe five years ago. So I've lived most of my life not knowing. I mean, I knew I was different. But when I finally learned about HSP, and what it is, it connected all the dots for me, was that true for you? Like all of a sudden, it was like, Oh my God, for the first time in my life I make sense. It was a game changer

Jeremy Long  6:53  
isn't just that like, yes, the the sensitive part, but even just being an emotional human, and learning to accept that, you know, and to learn to identify my emotions, because I think I used to identify as my emotions, and not just a person with emotions, if that makes sense. Like, I'm sad, therefore, I'm just a sad person. Instead of I'm a human who's experiencing sadness right now. I guess that just speaks to learning how to have that emotional awareness, and to not label emotions as good or bad, because I think they were they were heavier emotions for a long time. And I felt like they were bad, and therefore I was bad. And maybe you're right. I think that does speak to a regular queer story that we do here. And allowing ourselves to just be someone who has emotions is important.

Coach Maddox  7:46  
Can you unpack some of the messages that you got at that early time in life that might have driven some about what you're talking about?

Jeremy Long  7:57  
Yeah. So I think from a British background on my dad's side, just keeping that firm upper lip, like, we don't show emotions, we don't show weakness. That was from my dad's side. And, and my mom was a little bit angry sometimes at the cards that had been dealt. And so she didn't have the ability to be there for me and my emotions. So when I was emotional, or crying, you know, the message was, you know, cut it out, or I'll give you something to cry about. And so it was just that emotions weren't okay. That kind of feeling. Upset wasn't okay. There wasn't, there wasn't room to feel my emotions there wasn't allowed. And so like trying to keep them all in was quite painful. Well, and so

Coach Maddox  8:46  
emotional person and you can't, you know, you're led to believe that's not okay. That's very invalidating.

Jeremy Long  8:55  
Yeah, actually, knowing what I know about validation. Now, I really appreciate the way that you put that because I didn't, I didn't look back and I don't feel like my emotions, or even just my experience was really validated. Which sucks. It was really painful.

Coach Maddox  9:14  
It really does suck. I agree completely. You know, I kind of look back in my own life. And certainly hear this with the many men that I have conversation with how, you know, as gay men, in order to survive, we had to live in the shadows, we had to make ourselves as invisible as we could. And that becomes hardwired in our brain. We're hardwired to hide we're hardwired to be in the shadows. We're, we're hardwired to make ourselves invisible. And therefore, most of us are very, very hungry, to be seen, and to be heard.

Jeremy Long  9:59  
And I would have Add, I would add to be loved just to feel loved and safe because I don't know about you, but that's what I didn't feel. Whoever I was, it wasn't safe to be that person being emotional being sensitive, you know, being scared, I wasn't able to be that and not not feeling safe and loved was probably the most painful part of that experience.

Coach Maddox  10:25  
And do you think that not feeling loved? Did that come mostly from your parents? Or was it just in general?

Jeremy Long  10:38  
think the biggest programming of that story did come from my parents. And and I also I say that knowing that now I'm in this place where I've, you know, I've worked on it, I've done some forgiving, and I've done some adult taking care of myself, where that little kid inside me that didn't have what he needed. Now I can give it to me. So I, I say it because I forgive them in a sense. But yes, I feel like they're modeling is what led me to not feeling that love that I think I needed that validation that I needed.

Coach Maddox  11:14  
Well, and you can forgive. And that's very, very valid. But even when we forgive, it doesn't necessarily erase the damage that was done.

Jeremy Long  11:23  
Now, I've spent a lot of time working on how I show up in my intimate relationships and learning about attachment style. And I remember when I went through this phase of understanding, because I have an anxious attachment style, when I was understanding how that came about, I was so angry at my parents, you know, because of their their modeling and how that programming took place. And I'm not there anymore, because it's you know, we're responsible for ourselves. But But yes, you're right, it doesn't, it doesn't change the fact that it happened and and there's this influence of, you know, lack and lack of connection and safety that does, it is traumatizing. It is something that impacted me and continues to be the work that I focus on. And I'm happy about it, because I'm aware of it now. But yes, it doesn't take it away. So

Coach Maddox  12:21  
yeah, I personally believe that we certainly learn how to manage our trauma. I don't know that we ever just get free of it. I mean, there's been some things in my life that I feel somewhat free. But then every once in a while something comes up that kind of triggers some of it I don't I don't you know, and I've been on the planet for a while I don't know, whether we ever actually get free of that we can forgive but do we ever forget? Probably not. It still has an impact. And, and I can look back and some of you, I know that you're probably going to identify with this because you've given some little hints. I know for me that that there was a point where I became grateful what I had experienced, I wouldn't want to relive it for a minute that would would never want to relive it. But I wouldn't be the man that I am today. If I hadn't been through these experience those experiences.

Jeremy Long  13:21  
And that's even to speak to you know, when we look back at the times we're most proud of well speak for myself, it's always the times that I overcame some intense struggle with others or with myself. And so yes, it actually I'm, I'm happy for the journey, because we all have something that we're working on or some something that triggers us. So yeah, I don't regret it, or wish to wish it didn't happen. It made me who I am. Regardless of how painful it has been.

Coach Maddox  13:53  
Well, you referred to intense struggle. I would if you if you're up for it, I would love for you to unpack a little bit of that for us, take us into that where we can see part of your your journey. And this is not meant as a criticism at all. But you're you're speaking in a little bit of generality generic generalities, and I'd like to get you into a little more specific, something that we can sink our teeth into.

Jeremy Long  14:22  
Yeah, I do appreciate that. Even just, you know, letting me know how I've been showing up, as sometimes I have resistance to going back into some of it. And I think that that's a protection thing that I do now. But I'm happy to offer Yeah, some of the struggle. I'm going to take two seconds to decide which part of the struggle so that I share. I would say that the the piece that was the most traumatic was because of that childhood. And because of their relationships that I have He's having as a teenager, I just, I just dove off the deep end into the addiction and to the party scene I actually got, I got pulled in sort of, to this escape. Feeling that was probably one of the biggest intense struggle. So, you know, I was 16. And I was living in, you know, outside of Vancouver, in Canada, and I, I desperately wanted that, that love. I thought if I had a good love that I was going to be fulfilled and happy and safe. And all the things I didn't feel like I had prior. So I had been watching Queer as Folk. And of course, Chris folk, I don't know if you've watched it, but the young guy, Justin, every episode, every episode, I've seen it multiple times, and I don't want to live Justin's life. And you know, I really did, because it came out, the British version came out when I was 615. So when I was 16, the American version came out and I yeah, I literally pulled in Justin, like, I went down to the city. And I was 16. And I met some 36 year old man, and, you know, had, like, he swept me up and gave me that attention that I was longing for. And he I felt safe. And he you know, it was exciting. But it was also I look back now, and that was not a good idea. And it was, it was fun. But then that fun turned into fun with problems, because, you know, he introduced me to some drugs and to some of the party scene. And then at 17 years old, I'm finding myself in after hours, and doing, you know, party drugs. And by the time I'm 19, I'm, you know, I'm in recovery, because it was so bad. Because I, I didn't have any sense of reality anymore. So it was really, it was really scary to go down that deep at such a young age. So that's definitely one of the intense struggles, like being in rehab at 20 years old, surrounded by people in their 50s. Thinking, how did I get here? You know, so that was looking back? That's definitely one of the biggest parts of it.

Coach Maddox  17:20  
Well, you know, you were you were seeking for something you didn't have, it sounds like and you were also trying to escape from something you did have, which was, you know, not a not a pleasant thing.

Jeremy Long  17:34  
Yeah, and I think that not working, having since worked in nonprofit and addictions and, you know, support services, which I went to, because I wanted to figure out, you know, how someone like me would end up where I ended up. So it actually gave me that purpose going forward. But looking, you know, looking at my path now, yeah, it makes total sense, that that's how my life went, it makes total sense that that's how I was self medicating and coping, and looking for a community of people. It makes total sense that I fell into that world, looking for that acceptance, because you know, what, in, in the party world, in the bar and a nightclub, you could just be whoever you were going to be. And it was kind of safe in a weird way. Because you weren't being no one was going to drive by on a street yelling faggot. You know, and me being afraid that someone was going to throw a Slurpee in my face, because that also happened when I was young. So it is this weird form of safety and acceptance. And a lot of people I see get stuck in that and don't continue to evolve past it.

Coach Maddox  18:48  
Well, it's a form of community and we're all hungry for community. Very that it may not be the healthy community, but it's still its connection. Even if it's very superficial connection, I you know, everything I read that I don't have any history with addiction, but I've studied it quite a bit just out of curiosity, and it always feels like it comes back to a lack of connection. It's the thing that drives people the most to, to abuse substances or to develop an addiction. Not all addictions have to do with substances, You can be addicted to all kinds of non substance things. But it seems like there's such a, like a common denominator, which is lack of connection, that aloneness that lack of validation.

Jeremy Long  19:51  
Yeah, and that does motivate us to seek connection in whatever community you know that is available to us. I There were parts of that, that were actually really fun and really, like, vibrant and exciting and lovely. But it just it didn't take me where I wanted to go. And I will say this that I that recovery in my 20s that I spoke about, like I didn't actually last, I was sobered again till I was 26. And then I dove back into the party scene. Because I wanted to have that connection. And that community, I had a sober community, but I wanted to be seen as normal. I wanted to have gay community and I wanted to feel a part of something bigger and more exciting. And maybe it was about, you know, sexuality. And and I don't know, just I was seeking, I was longing and so I fell back into it.

Coach Maddox  20:50  
Well, I think you just said a key word. And that's excitement. I mean, I would imagine that that world has an element of excitement that would be hard to hard to reproduce in other communities.

Jeremy Long  21:06  
And actually, even you saying that now it speaks to something I've that's been uncovered more recently, in therapy. It's that I was so used to chaos. And so calm and serene, actually didn't interest me, it actually seemed like something might be wrong or missing or boring. And, and even now, you know, I'm in my late 30s. Now, figuring out that, oh, actually, that is what I need. Now I need calm. Because I've been attracted to chaotic people and chaotic relationships and chaotic communities.

Coach Maddox  21:44  
That's a form of addiction in and of itself. It was I've known many people that are literally addicted to drama. Yeah. And if there's not drama going on in their life, they they don't feel like they have a life.

Jeremy Long  22:00  
Yeah. And I see that I see that in. I see that in my recovery community that we are those people that are addicted to that sometimes. And I will own that I have been that. And that even in my in my dating, that I have looked back at the people that I've dated, and they were just big, eccentric, and sometimes really intense personalities. And now I realize that, that that's connected to that craving for chaos, and not knowing that I deserve something safer and calmer. And I think that speaks to the healthier we become the healthier we attract. I feel like a key thing that I'm living these days,

Coach Maddox  22:47  
when you were going through that was there. Was it like an adrenaline rush was when you were in that that crowd with the chaos? And the excitement and and all of the drama or however you want to word it? What is that? What did that produce internally? I mean, you've described that, you know, you didn't, it didn't feel like exciting or it didn't it just wasn't very alluring to not have that level of chaos. But when you were in that, all that chaos? What was what was what did it feel like in here? What was happening inside of you?

Jeremy Long  23:27  
I think it's that ultimate dopamine hit. It's just like, it's Wow, it's exciting. It feels good. You know, it's just overwhelming you then and yeah, it it was very attractive to be, you know, having newness all the time. And, and yeah, sometimes that drama, actually, it also was a dopamine hit. You know, it was something, something pops up and it's intense. I think I've as an addict, maybe recovering, it's also that it's connected to a need for that dopamine to feel good. You know, or just to feel period? Because that's not something that I've always felt I had a handle on. Yeah,

Coach Maddox  24:17  
well, that makes sense. You know, I like I said, I don't have any personal history, but and you can share with me your experience, but when you're in the throes of addiction, are you able to really feel like or does it somehow numb you out? Or?

Jeremy Long  24:39  
Yeah, I think it speaks to, for some of us because we're highly sensitive. It's a way to not be so overwhelmed by all the feelings and all the thoughts because as someone in recovery I also have realized that I've I've been someone that's, you know, experiences anxiety and ruminating and and kind of obsessing on things and situations and people. And I think sometimes the drinking and some of the partying was a release from that.

Coach Maddox  25:10  
Yeah, you make a really, really valid point, Jeremy, because I do think I mean, I as an HSP, myself, I feel everything so deeply. I mean, yeah, everything. You know, I I've been teased by family members and friends throughout my life, not in an ugly way. But you know, I was always the one that could cry during a Coca Cola reach out and touch somebody commercial. I'm dating myself now with that one. But you know, I'm, I'm highly sensitive, but I'm also highly emotional. And I don't know if that's go hand in hand, or whether they're separate, but I definitely am. Both. But I, you know, I said to the guys I was talking to earlier, I have felt my feelings so intensely all of my life, that I can't wrap my mind around when somebody says, I don't really know what a feeling is, or I don't know what I'm feeling. I can't even quite get that, because I've never experienced anything that's even remotely like that.

Jeremy Long  26:24  
Yeah, that's, that's interesting, because I share your experience sensitive and emotional. And I always tell people, I swim in the deep end. And I'm happy, I'm happy to swim there. Now I didn't used to be it was overwhelming. And I felt like I was consumed by it. But

Coach Maddox  26:40  
I do exactly the same phrase, I sleep. Swim the deep end.

Jeremy Long  26:43  
Yeah, yeah. And I do get sort of puzzled by people that are less emotional. And it's interesting, actually, to be around. And as a coach, I do, I do coach people and I'm, I actually like working with with people that are more on the rational side than the emotional side. Because it allows me an opportunity to understand better, where they're coming from, and also to help you know, people tap into their emotions. But it is it's fascinating. And as I don't know if this is an experience you have, but I tend to attract the opposite of me in my dating. And so like, my my partner is, is more on the rational side. And I'm more on the emotional side. And I feel like I get to learn a lot by being in relationship about myself.

Coach Maddox  27:29  
Well, and sometimes being with somebody that's different than we are creates a sense of balance, we complement each other. Unless it's too extreme, you know, I mean, there needs to be some common ground somewhere. But having differences, I can see where that would be a healthy and positive thing.

Jeremy Long  27:51  
Oh, yeah, I think so too. And and you're right, like two extreme differences can be challenging to meet on the same page, but I giggled a second ago, because I can't imagine both of us being the highly emotional, because I just feel like it would be too much to handle. So I really, actually appreciate the opposite in my partner, because if he was also like me, I feel like we would just be in a puddle all the time.

Coach Maddox  28:23  
I don't know that I ever quite thought of it like that. But yeah, back on my relationships. I've had a similar experience. It's been with more rational, less emotional men. And, you know, I guess that's just like anything else. Like, you know, the damsel in distress needs the knight in shining armor just as much as the knight in shining armor needs the damsel in distress. You have to you know, I've heard you know, that. For every codependent, there is a narcissist. We, you know, there's there's some truth to that, that draw that brings you together, there's got to be a reason to be together. So you are on the other side of addiction. I take it now. Yeah, so what were you able to do what what finally came through for you that enabled you to free yourself of that? Well, there

Jeremy Long  29:27  
the addiction part. It didn't, nothing huge happened. To be honest. I just was waking up in the same cycle every week, you know, for a couple of years. And then I just realized just on one. every other Monday morning where I was feeling shame about my behavior. I just looked at myself, and I thought this is it. Just gonna stay this way. And nothing peculiar or terrible happened to wake me up to The fact that, you know, it wasn't working, but I just I just realized it wasn't working my way wasn't working. And so that was the beginning of my second sort of chapter in recovery. But I would say there's more to it this time, it because that this version of my recovery is much different than the first time in my 20s. And so, in that, I realized that like, so I was recovering, and I was, you know, sober, but I wasn't fulfilled. And I knew that there was still something missing. And I didn't know what that was, I didn't feel like I had a calling, I didn't know where I was supposed to be in my life. And that was actually very painful. And I found myself stuck in jobs that I didn't like. And something wasn't, it wasn't better, I wasn't better, I wasn't healed yet, just because I got sober didn't mean that I was better. And so I knew that I had more work to do. And I went on the trip overseas, I called it my version of eat gay love, and I was lost and overcoming a breakup. And I just felt like something needed to change in me. And when I came back, I don't know if I was just ready in my moment in my life, but I was in so much pain, and I and again, kind of speaking to I was looking at how I was showing up. And you know, my jobs that I wasn't fulfilled in my relationships that I wasn't fulfilled, and all of it, like the common denominator was me. And I just realized, I really have to change because how I'm seeing myself and how I'm seeing the world is not working. And it was almost like the second surrender in my recovery, where I was able to realize that I didn't like myself, I didn't know how to like myself. And that was really hard to admit. And so I kind of went on a journey of more self development, which has taken me on many different legs and chapters. But I think the essence of it, it was looking at the story that I was making up about myself, and really uncovering those core beliefs that weren't serving me anymore. And that really, I needed people, like I needed a team, to be honest, to help me dig out of that hole. Because I was a, I showed up as a total victim in my life. I blamed other people for my circumstances, and, and the world is being a tough, challenging place. And I did not know how to take responsibility for my own happiness and fulfillment. And it was painful to say that, to realize that to own that I was, you know, I had to mourn the loss of the idea that someone was going to come and fix it for me. And I had to let go of that. And that was very painful, because that's what I wanted. I wanted someone to come in and wave a magic wand and make me feel better. It wasn't happening.

Coach Maddox  32:54  
I think it's it important to call out that you there was a moment, and as there would be in any of our lives. But we don't talk about this very often. And what I'm what's emerging right now, as you talk is I'm hearing there was this moment when you had to tell yourself the truth.

Jeremy Long  33:17  
Very, very true. Yes.

Coach Maddox  33:20  
And it was painful, quite painful, I'm sure.

Jeremy Long  33:24  
Yeah, because I had been in denial, you know, like, and that was a protection thing. If I blamed you, then I could feel better about me. Right? If I blamed the world, then I could feel safe for me. And it works until it stopped working. And I feel like that's a that's something we all have to face. We all have these things that motivate us and these thoughts and beliefs. These sort of inner saboteur is.

Coach Maddox  33:49  
So question, you said it worked until it stopped working, looking back and knowing what you know, now. Mm hmm. Did it ever really work? Or was that just an illusion? Was it a band aid?

Jeremy Long  34:03  
It was a band aid. It was a protection thing that I created when I was young, you know, if I'm, if I'm a pleaser, then I'll have people you know, people will be sort of nice to me. If I'm the victim, then I'll get some attention. And even if it's that attention, you know, there's all these ways that I was showing up that but they were abandoned. And it wasn't until I started deconstructing and scrapping that and starting to look at who did I even want to be who was I going to allow myself to be and asserted as simply as you know, someone, someone that I now call a great mentor of mine, he, he just I had a coffee with him, and he he just pointed out and he mirrored back he actually did, you know, good coaching. And he showed me how I was showing up to him, you know, and he told me the language I was using, which was self deprecating, right and he just mirrored back and he showed To me how I was presenting to the world. And it was kind of ugly.

Coach Maddox  35:06  
Well, how you were presenting to the world, but also how you were treating yourself.

Jeremy Long  35:10  
And that's at the core of it right that I didn't believe I was worthy of something better.

Coach Maddox  35:15  
When when you got when you got, like, stop when you realize, Okay, I've been lying to myself, and you decided to tell yourself the truth. What was I mean, I'm sure there were lots of truths, because I've walked this path. And I know there were lots of truths. But in that incident, in that moment, what was the number one truth that you had to get real with yourself about to begin to turn your life around?

Jeremy Long  35:44  
The first one that comes up? I mean, there, I think there's many, but the first one that comes up is no one's going to do

Coach Maddox  35:49  
it for you. Say that again, Jeremy. Please.

Jeremy Long  35:54  
The real truth is that no one is going to do it for me. No one's going to come on, you know, knight in shining armor and rescue me.

Coach Maddox  36:07  
And even if we have the illusion of that occasionally, which we do, you know, we've all been in situations where we felt like briefly, somebody rescued us, because there's lots of there's lots of codependent people out there that want need somebody to rescue. And for a period of time, they will do that. And it looks like it's happening. But it's always it's always a bandaid, and it's always temporary. And oftentimes leads us worse than what we were for they rescued us.

Jeremy Long  36:42  
Yeah. And that speaks to a whole lot of, you know, relationship patterns and dynamics that just don't really work.

Coach Maddox  36:48  
So in the moment that you realize nobody's going to come and rescue me. What were you feeling? If you drop down into your body and recreate that for a moment? What? What were you feeling in that moment? When you said, nobody's going to come rescue me?

Jeremy Long  37:06  
Oh, God like that. That was a really hard one. Because it was like, shit, like, this isn't? This is going to be hard. And I also have shame, and I'm embarrassed. And how am I going to do this, and I'm so lost, and just not knowing, you know what was going to be next because I didn't know how to care about myself. It was painful as it was. I didn't want to show that to anyone. And this person, you know, had just seen it.

Coach Maddox  37:41  
Can you speak about the shame? That's such a big thing that we all carry in our community? I mean, it happens in the world at large. But I don't you know, I'm not doing a podcast for the world at large. I'm doing a podcast for GBT Q man, what, we've got a heavy dose of of that, what? Help me unpack the shame.

Jeremy Long  38:04  
I think the first part of it is just acknowledging that it's there. I think that being able to say I don't feel good, I'm scared. Because I don't know how to do this. I don't know how to show up for myself in life, you know, admitting that like that, that's, and I feel a lot of emotion now, sharing that because I don't, I don't want to share that with you. Because I have shame about being vulnerable. You know, I have shame about being gay, I had shame about not knowing how to do this thing called life, wishing that I had had the instruction manual that everyone else seemed to have. And you know, how to be healthy in relationships with myself and others. So just being able to admit that that was hard. And I think the impact that it had on me was, you know, like, I was always trying to be perfect. And I was always trying to please others and be, you know, perform in a way that I thought I needed to perform

Coach Maddox  39:09  
well, in order to get the validation that you so deeply needed. I get it. Yeah. So once you got honest with yourself, nobody's come in to rescue me. This is going to be hard. I don't know what to do. What was your first step after you got real and tell yourself the truth? What was the first action step you took?

Jeremy Long  39:35  
Like it's a bit blurry, because at this time in my life, when I came back from that trip is when I kind of fell into coaching as a volunteer thing. And I guess that was a step you know, I signed up for it. So I didn't even know what I was getting myself into. But I knew it was around working in community and and self development. And so I just I didn't realize that like part of my finding a purpose was It's gonna involve a lot of healing myself. I don't know if you also have that experience I'm sure you do. But the more that we want to show up for others, we learn how to show up for ourselves in the process. And so I think it was just being open, probably that first step was just being open to what's the next right thing that will actually benefit me. And in that moment, it was a training on how to show up for others, which inspired me to go do more training, more in depth training, where I was surrounded by people that impressed me to, you know, umpteenth degree, and I felt not adequate to be next to them. But that imposter syndrome, but I kept showing up, because I started learning, this is what I learned that it's not about just being good at something or not, regardless of what it is that there's these learning stages I never understood. I didn't know that you, you know, you have this unconscious incompetence. And then you move into conscious incompetence, where you know that you suck at things. And that it's okay to be there, because I think I would get there and then I would quit everything. And then from there, you can move up into that conscious competence.

Coach Maddox  41:17  
When you move into that space where you felt like you wanted to quit everything, what was coming up for you in that moment that made you want to quit?

Jeremy Long  41:27  
Oh, it's just, it's all connected. It's just connecting to that shame. Again, it's, I I'm not good enough. I don't I don't look good doing this, I'm not gonna be good. And it's just not gonna happen for me. And again, that was that victim mindset that that's my default thinking sometimes. And I have to learn to overcome that. And in those moments that I think that next thing I did was I was willing to hear from others that I could be wrong. And that may be how I see myself. It doesn't have to be how I continue to

Coach Maddox  42:06  
see myself. Beautiful. That that bears that's worth repeating, please.

Jeremy Long  42:15  
Yeah, that doesn't have to be how I continue to see myself and treat myself. Oh, and that was really hard. Because when you don't know how to love yourself, and people are like, I love you, and you're going to be great at this and you don't believe it yet and your core, but you're hearing it, woof. Even now just like that championing I think that so many queer people need more championing. Especially if you just if you're carrying around so much baggage,

Coach Maddox  42:48  
be with that energy for a moment, Jeremy, right therapy with that for a moment. You dropped into that space. Just feel it. Just breathe into it and feel it.

Jeremy Long  43:06  
That's been my biggest, biggest gift is like a team of people that are like, we know, you don't feel like it. But you've got this.

Coach Maddox  43:17  
You know, is there any part of it that was hard to receive?

Jeremy Long  43:20  
Oh, completely. And I've had that experience numerous times. I had an amazing moving experience in the men's group with all straight men. And I was getting honest again, about what how I was showing up in relationships wasn't working. And I was so upset, and I was so tired of having this type of thinking. And I was just wanting to be rid of it. And I was just crying my eyes out and this group of straight men, and they all got up and they just held me in this giant group hug. And just I just sobbed. You know, and they just said, You are doing so great. And it's moments like that. It's like those moments where I allowed myself to be seen, you know, to be vulnerable, to be to be broken in front of others. Because that That shit is brave. I look that I know that now like that's actually what's allowed me to climb out of that darkness is being brave enough to show others that it's not working

Coach Maddox  44:29  
well and you have just completely validated or maybe invalidated the fact that so many people believe that vulnerability is a weakness. I don't believe that for a minute and your story just completely clearly demonstrates that it takes an insane amount of bravery, courage and strength. To truly step into our vulnerability. It is the opposite of weakness. I want to I want also kind of want to call out that there's this double edge thing going on, when you were in that space you were describing how wonderful it was for these people to champion you. And simultaneously, how hard it was to receive that they're going on at the same exact time. And there's a point where we have to make a choice.

Jeremy Long  45:34  
Yeah, that's an interesting way to put it to like, having a choice, because the default thinking wants to tell me I don't, and I deserve this. I don't deserve this. And it is a choice. And I think that that's also something that I've, I really feel like I'm harnessing. And I can't say harness because it's ongoing, but that I have a choice in those moments, because the default thinking will always come up. And I have a choice in that moment to allow it to take over or not. And to try something different. That also might be, you know, really scary. But I want to try, you know,

Coach Maddox  46:11  
you just said something, I think that's really, really profound. And that is the default will always come up. You know, I listen to people every day that think there's going to be this time when they get on the other side of it. You know, one of these, I'm going to arrive, and I keep telling anybody and everybody that will listen, there's no destiny, there is no destination here, you will not arrive. It's a journey and the journey, you're on the journey till your last fucking breath. And thank God because what would you do? If there was no journey? Yeah, there'd be no reason to be here. But you just said something really powerful. And that is it's a process. You said, I'm harnessing. Not hardest, but harnessing. And the default always does come out to come. No matter how old or how much work you've done, or how much of life you've experienced. That's hardwired in us, it's never going to go away. We can't depend on that. We can't decide one of these days, I'll be free of this. No. You have to be vigilant. And you have to step in when the default pops up. You know, when the computer defaults to something, you just go into the settings and you change it to what you want it to be.

Jeremy Long  47:34  
And I actually would like to highlight that because I want your listeners to hear that, you know, because it sounds like oh, no, the default never goes away. But what I think I've learned is that the default shows up. And then I can even have moments of just laughing at Oh, that's old, like, I'm not going to act on that old belief anymore. You know, and it's still comes. But then it's a moment of oh, I just can choose something different. And it can be as easy as that. Sometimes.

Coach Maddox  47:59  
I love it. Sometimes you're right, every situation is different. Sometimes it kicks our ass. Yeah. But yeah, with practice, you get to where you can choose the custom settings every time. We don't ever go to the default. It's always there. But we don't ever have to choose the default.

Jeremy Long  48:18  
And keep upgrading the software. Like you got to keep adding more tools to the toolbox.

Coach Maddox  48:24  
I love that. Yeah. I love that.

Jeremy Long  48:28  
Why? Because I can't I can't solve the next problem based on the old thinking I have to keep getting new upgrades.

Coach Maddox  48:36  
So let's fast forward present day. We've talked about this history of not being good enough. Lack of self worth, lack of self esteem, lack of self love. Where are you today in all of that.

Jeremy Long  48:59  
I worked with a coach for a year and a half this wonderful woman in New York and she told me in my sessions often that I was just she was noticing I was always trying to come up to zero. And I liked the way that you just said it kind of reminds me that like I'm I'm above zero I'm getting to go above now and explore what is that like? And it's so nice because I'm not always in like survival mode anymore. And where am I now is it's all creation. It's all everything gets to be brand new and exciting. You know, and that speaks to how I'm showing up for myself. I like myself a lot these days and I feel good about who I am and who I become and, and and also stop apologizing for parts of myself so personally, feels great in my relationships. I am a different human. I don't understand how I'm able to do what I'm doing in relationships and to take responsibility from our reactions and to admit that I'm wrong and that need to be right and need to be a victim and need to blame others, like I powerfully show up in relationships, even when I make mistakes. And in my career, it's like, now I get to have this calling and purpose to support other queer people in the groups that I lead. In my executive coaching, where I get to support people tapping into emotions, knowing that you can be whoever you're supposed to be, you know, I also get to work with corporations that allow me to support their career leaders, to help them develop themselves so that they can stop hiding themselves in the workplace. You know, it's, it's all connected to the journey that I've been on. And my podcast used to be called the journey to worthy and that's what we're all on rolling and journey to worthy, right. So it's all it's all exciting. Now.

Coach Maddox  50:56  
Jeremy, I want to reflect back to you, in these last few moments. You just really celebrated yourself. You champion yourself, I feel really blessed to have been able to be present for that.

Jeremy Long  51:14  
I appreciate you acknowledging that, because that did not used to happen. You know, I had, I had someone mirror back recently. He's like, I really love how you are dedicated to loving yourself. And I think that's the journey that I want to continue. I want for others.

Coach Maddox  51:32  
You know, when you just tell the story, your voice, inflection, your energy. It was, it was just like, I just wanted to like lay on it, like, you know, you lay on the sand and on the beach and let the sun warm your body, I just wanted to just bask in that energy that you were, you were emitting because it was absolutely gorgeous. And I just want to acknowledge you for you've come a long way in a short time. I know, it may not feel that way to you. But, you know, you just said you're in your upper 30s. And we both know, lots of men that are nowhere near what you're describing right now. Yeah, to compare. But to just acknowledge, you know, you have found a place that some people will live their life out and die and never experience what you're experiencing write down. There's just so much to be grateful for your, your story is it's a beautiful story. I really ration was absolutely the best part of the story. I love the way I you know, I would, I would love it, if you and I are both in this together in this field that we could bring the people we work with, to that place that I just saw you get to be and

Jeremy Long  53:07  
I really appreciate that. Because that that has been just a reflection on Wow, that's where I am now. It's just like, I did not know how to do that for myself. You know, and, and I really appreciate the Yeah, that mirroring back. Because it is something like, wow, I do get to be really grateful for this. And when I remember to be really grateful, you know, and I instead of comparing myself to those that I think are ahead of me and where I think I should be. And I actually just look back at where I've been and where I've come from and how much I've accomplished. And how I feel. Oh wow. It's just, I'm rich with you know, self awareness.

Coach Maddox  53:52  
And you're exactly where you're supposed to be right now. Yeah, yes. Yeah. Well what if you could drop one wisdom bomb on the listener? Oh, now before I say that, before I ask that, you know, something else I wanted to just share because this was very, very powerful and meaningful. Maybe I was I was working three or four years ago or something like that two years ago with of all things a marketing person. And the marketing this this was just like, wow, who would have ever thought this would would have come out of a marketing person's mouth. But the man said to me the purse the people that you can most powerfully serve will be the people that share the same wound and I just got it. I really got it when he said that. And I can see, that's where you are, you are in that place where you're serving people that share your greatest wound. And that's where you're going to be able to do the brightest work.

Jeremy Long  55:26  
I agree with that.

Coach Maddox  55:28  
I have no doubt that you're going to change lots of lives. Thank you. No doubt. Okay. So back to my question. What's, what's the number one wisdom bomb, you can drop on the listener right now based on your story and everything you've shared. People who share that that wound, same wound, what's the wisdom bomb,

Jeremy Long  55:54  
think it's something around if you're just not happy and fulfilled, and you know that something is off or wrong. If you can just give yourself the permission to admit that your way might not be working. And to let go of needing to get it right. And give yourself permission to be vulnerable, and admit that you need to try something new. Because I think that at that moment, something will arrive, something will appear in front of you. something new, something different, a new way of looking at the world. But you have to admit that you're always not working first.

Coach Maddox  56:38  
I agree when you tell the story. That's beautiful. That's absolutely beautiful. But when you talked about finally, telling yourself the truth, what I'm doing is not working. Then as you progress through the story, everything pointed to the universe just showed up and supported you. When you told the truth you got out of your own friggin way. And in that moment, the universe could step in the universe can't do much when we're completely blocking the road. Yeah, but when you got real with yourself and tell the truth, you move the blockades out of the way. And boom, the universe came right in and started supporting you. You said I ended up in this training. I don't even know what got me there or why I got there. Exactly what I what I needed. I have a similar experience. Just ended up in something that I didn't even know why I was there. How I got there. And it changed my life forever.

Jeremy Long  57:40  
Because the opposite is, you know, resisting that change. And whatever you resist persists. They say,

Coach Maddox  57:47  
Yeah, we're stuck with it. You're stuck with that? Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Yeah. How about some rapid fire questions?

Jeremy Long  57:56  
Both zero?

Coach Maddox  57:57  
Are you ready? Yeah. We'll see. We'll see if you're ready. Yeah. Well, and you may have already answered this question, but maybe you've got another another take on this. in your lifetime. What has been the hardest part of being a gay man?

Jeremy Long  58:18  
My own internal belief that I need to be a certain way.

Coach Maddox  58:22  
Got it? You nailed that one. Okay. Beautiful. Many years from now. You are a ghost at your own funeral. You have died. You are at your funeral. And there is a variety of your closest nearest dearest gay men. GBT Q men friends at your funeral. What do you hope that they will say about you?

Jeremy Long  58:51  
I know what they would say. They would say Thank God, he challenged me to be better.

Coach Maddox  58:57  
I love it. You know you don't hope you know. Wow. Oh, yeah. I love that Jeremy. And final question, what matters most to you, and why? It's just all about love.

Jeremy Long  59:17  
It's just love because if I allow myself to be loved, I'm going to learn so much about myself and others. And the more I show up to love others, the more fulfilled I am in life.

Coach Maddox  59:31  
So I just want to point out when you just said it's all about love, really feel that you kind of you kind of jumped away from it a little bit because that's a little bit of an uncomfortable place to be but I could really feel that coming off of you wasn't just words, I could feel it.

Jeremy Long  59:53  
And I love that. It's so nice for reflection because we get so busy with life and success and money and And I love that the real true answer was love.

Coach Maddox  1:00:04  
It's nice to know that beautiful. Well, there's one thing I want to leave you with before we wrap up. And that is just to tell you that in my eyes Jeremy, you are indeed an authentic gay man.

Jeremy Long  1:00:20  
Thank you, I wear that with pride.

Coach Maddox  1:00:23  
I'm very, I'm very honored to know you and to have been able to have this conversation with you, thank you for bringing your, your real vulnerable self to the table and sharing with me and my audience. Been a pleasure.

Jeremy Long  1:00:39  
And I you I really do appreciate that our connection so far, and getting to know you more and just doing the work that you're doing. Because you're you're being authentic and real and putting yourself out there and offering information to people and stories and emotions, so that they can have that and I just I really commend you for doing that. Please keep doing this great work you're

Coach Maddox  1:01:00  
doing. Thank you, Jeremy. It is a process. It is a journey. You know, there are times when I you know, don't don't feel, you know, like, once again, that whole arrived to thing and like I said, that's probably a good thing. I feel like I'm on a good track and there's, there's more. Yes, there's more. Okay, so. Well, this has been a complete pleasure. Thank you so much. And I will tell you right now there will be more opportunities for you to come back. I'm doing group now, and we'd love to include you in one of those. We just need to find the one that's right for you.

Jeremy Long  1:01:41  
Absolutely. Sign me up.

Jeremy LongProfile Photo

Jeremy Long

Queer Men's Coach / Motorcycle Rider / Partner

Jeremy is a Conscious Queer man committed to serving the Queer community. On his own personal journey to feeling worthy, Jeremy has overcome addiction, anxiety, and some personal trauma that would not have been possible if not for the supports along the way. Feeling like he had no coping skills, or emotional strength, Jeremy struggled with his self esteem and acceptance of his sexuality for many years. Only now Jeremy sees that his struggles have paved the way for him to support the journey of other queer men, and has given him purpose to share a brave and vulnerable side of himself to give other queer men permission to let go of trying to be perfect, and embrace their true authentic selves.