May 23, 2023

Wil Fisher goes from popular to outcast in one day

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My guest, Wil Fisher, talks about being very well likes with lots of friends through the 7th grade. Then, in the 8th grade, two girls started a rumor that spread like wildfire, leaving Wil’s social life and popularity in the proverbial shitter. It took about 3 years for Wil to recover, but the experience left a lasting effect. Our conversation centers around Wil’s story of how he learned to own who and what he is and be fully expressed in whatever that looks like… did I say drag?

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Coach Maddox  0:03  
Hello, Wil Fisher and welcome to The Authentic Gay Man Podcast.

Wil Fisher  0:07  
Hello, Maddox. Thank you so much for having me.

Coach Maddox  0:10  
It's great to see you. And great to have you here. And I can't wait to hear your story.

Wil Fisher  0:15  
Thanks. I can't wait to share it.

Coach Maddox  0:17  
So before we jump in, why don't you tell the listeners how you and I know each other? How did we come to be recording a podcast episode together?

Wil Fisher  0:26  
Yeah. So we met at the gay coaches Conference, which took place at Easton mountain, a LGBTQ retreat center in upstate New York. We met there last summer. And yeah, we've been connected through the good coaches Alliance, a organization dedicated to elevating the coaching industry and supporting the gate coaches in that community.

Coach Maddox  0:50  
Yep, that was an amazing four days that we spent together, wasn't it?

Wil Fisher  0:56  
Oh, so amazing. Yeah. You know, it was my first time back there in five years. So I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but I used to run Easton mountain. And then I left and I hadn't returned for five years. And so that conference was my first time stepping back on that land. And it was so meaningful to do it. With the warmth of all my gay coach brothers.

Coach Maddox  1:18  
Wow, I had no idea that was my first time to ever set foot there. And no, I didn't know that. What a great story in and of itself. Sure. Yeah. I

Wil Fisher  1:29  
lived there for for for several years. And, yeah, I have a deep connection to that place under that land. So after the conference, I ended up staying for the whole month to really reconnect with the community and with the land. And yeah, it was a beautiful time for me.

Coach Maddox  1:45  
Wow. Sounds like it. I've talked to others that have spent extended period of periods of time there. It is beautiful up there. No two ways about it. And it's peaceful. You're planning a summer, I will be there and yay, absolutely. In fact, I had such a good time at the last one. When I got off the plane and arrived back home, I pulled my calendar up and marked the dates right, then it was already a commitment in my mind. So counting down the days, I'm so excited. And this year, I'm not coming alone this year. I have a partner that's coming with me.

Wil Fisher  2:20  
Wow, fantastic. I didn't realize is your partner or coach are moving into that industry.

Coach Maddox  2:25  
Now. He's kind of leaning into that. Oh, yeah. And he loves personal growth and anything that's, you know, awareness oriented, so

Wil Fisher  2:38  
and the conference really does cover all that. It's not just about the craft of coaching, it's about stepping into your best self. And the classes are taught by amazing coaches. So yeah, you know, it didn't occur to me that it'd be a really great conference for anyone who's into personal growth.

Coach Maddox  2:55  
Yes, absolutely. I, you know, you're right there. Although it was all coaches, there was not a lot of conversation about coaching, particularly some really was growth oriented it it was it was just a once in a lifetime. Well, I hope not since I'm going back in May, but it felt like a once in a lifetime experience. It just blew me away.

Wil Fisher  3:19  
Well, no two retreats are the same experience, right? It'll be a different miraculous blessing full retreat. But it'll be different than that one. Once in a lifetime, we could say,

Coach Maddox  3:32  
I had never, and I've been out for over 40 years, I had never been in an environment that lended itself to me connecting with other gay men on the level that I connected. It wasn't in fact, it was really hard for me to leave. It just was so beyond anything that I had ever experienced, it was hard for me to leave. Yeah,

Wil Fisher  3:58  
no, that's understandable. It's hard for many people to leave there, especially when they're first experiencing it. And I think part of the magic is that it's a gay retreat center, you know, and so that when you're in that space, you're with only gay people, and it becomes the default. We're so used to being in this heteronormative world where we're kind of the minority, we're sometimes an outsider. And then when we create this magical space, where it's just gay people celebrating their gayness, their queerness their, their vibrancy as gay people. It's a different level of comfort and freedom that we get to experience together.

Coach Maddox  4:39  
It absolutely is an I felt like it actually attracted what I would refer to as the best part of our community. No, it was so loving and so accepting. There was no criticism or judgment or any of the other things that tend to go along with being in a gay male environment. It was like nothing I'd ever experienced. It felt like it was a more evolved type of GBT Q man.

Wil Fisher  5:16  
Yeah, I mean, I think that the GBT Q men who are dedicated to their personal growth and spiritual development journeys tend to be a certain caliber that I certainly appreciate. And, you know, when I was living and working at Easton for those years, I got to experience that, you know, consistently these amazing GBT cue men coming through the space and bringing their gifts and bringing their authenticity. And you know, it's not all rainbows and unicorns, people still show up with their mark, and there's still challenges that happen there. But that the community and the the intention of the space often is able to optimize that. Yeah,

Coach Maddox  5:58  
at the end of the day, we're all human, you know, yes. It's never going to be all, as you say, you know, rainbows and unicorns, but it was a safe place to really experience those things. And then, and then gracefully and lovingly move through them.

Wil Fisher  6:15  
Mm hmm. Exactly. Yeah, exactly.

Coach Maddox  6:18  
Well, let's move forward. I would love to know what it means to you to be an authentic gay man.

Wil Fisher  6:29  
Yeah, so I love that that question. And really what it brings to my my mind, and my heart is what is authenticity. And authenticity to me is expressing our truth. And when we express our truth, we are really operating from our highest self. So to be an authentic gay man means that I'm expressing my truth. And part of that truth is my truth as a gay man is the part of me that identifies as a gay man. And to be more clear, I often use the word queer for myself, personally, I use a queer man, or queer person, is often how I describe myself. And I suppose what that looks like, is always evolving. My authenticity shifts as my way of being shifts. And as I peel more layers of this onion, in my self discovery process, to understand who I am, and, and what my truth is, my authenticity expands and grows and changes and evolves in unexpected ways. And so to be an authentic gay man is a journey of surprise, and flow, and freedom and self expression. And something that is not easy to put in a box because it's it's ever changing.

Coach Maddox  8:07  
Yes. And occasional surprises. Absolutely, yeah. Yeah. Beautiful. I love that. Well said very well said.

Wil Fisher  8:17  
Thank you. 

Coach Maddox  8:18  
Well, what we're really here to talk about is, I want to know your story. I want to hear about your life, and so does every listener. What it what is the biggest challenge that you have been through in this lifetime? Or maybe you're you're continuing to go through on some level? Hmm, yeah.

Wil Fisher  8:41  
You know, I,I am so blessed, and I'm so grateful for the life that I have. And it has been challenging at times. Certainly. I'm, and I still face challenges today. Certainly. I think the challenge I'll speak to, that matches the context of the show best is the challenge of being a young gay boy. And what that was like for me to experience the the hate and bullying that I experienced around the eighth grade. And the stories especially present to me right now, because I'm, I sing with this then do a Gay Men's Chorus. And we are starting a new outreach program where we're going to schools, and we're gonna go sing songs to these public schools for like, 1111 1213 year old kids. And it's looking like I'm going to share my story to this demographic. And so it feels important for me to be sharing this today in preparation to be you know, on the ground I want to with these these middle schoolers in the near future, actually later this month, I'm going to be doing my first gig. I'm doing that.

Coach Maddox  10:09  
So sounds exciting and terrifying at the same time.

Wil Fisher  10:14  
Thank you.

Coach Maddox  10:15  
Thanks. You know, at that age, you don't know what you're really going to get.

Wil Fisher  10:21  
Certainly, no, no, I don't.

Coach Maddox  10:25  
It can be all over the map. Yeah, I would, I would say, you know, be prepared for just about anything.

Wil Fisher  10:36  
Sure. You know, yeah. Yeah, yeah, we'll see. I mean, we're, it's a, the program consists of some personal stories, mine is the first one that gets spoken. And then some songs. So my story leads into the song creep by Radiohead, which I don't know if you remember that song. But it says like, I'm a creep. I'm a weirdo. You know, you're so special. I wish I was special. It's like this very dark song. And my story leads into that, because there was a time in my life. In the eighth grade, specifically, where I internalized a lot of those thoughts, I really questioned my self worth. And I had a lot of disparaging, self talk happening as a result of what I went through. And it was, No, as I mentioned, I feel very blessed in this life. And I've had so many wonderful things happen throughout my life. But this, this period was a shock to my system, in part because of that. So I had been fairly popular all through elementary school, my older siblings were popular, and somehow that kind of like, helped me out, I think, and I just always had friends and always felt really comfortable and safe at school. And that was especially important to me. Growing up because my life, my home life is not very safe. I had, I grew up with two alcoholic parents, my brother was addicted to drugs, there was a lot of chaos in my in my household. And so having good stable friends and being able to spend time in there, more stable homes, was important to me. And just being able to go to school and feel liked and appreciated and, and seen and heard was really important to me. And it was going well until this one day in eighth grade. And it was a day where I skipped school, because I wasn't feeling well. And I didn't often skip school. But because I liked it so much because it was a safe place for me to be. But this day, I stayed home and I came back the next day, and everything was different. And people were sort of avoiding me. And when I walked by people, they would snicker or it appeared to me like people were talking about me, which I'd never experienced before. And I remember going at lunch to the table, I was sat out which was where the popular kids sat, you know, quote, unquote, and I sat next to my best friend, and he got up and he moved to another seat and wouldn't talk to me. And basically, everyone was pretending like I wasn't there. And then I got to science class right after lunch. And the kids in my science class, a few of them that our teacher was really sort of checked out. And so the kids had free rein, and these kids started making fun of me and calling me gay. And specifically, they were accusing me of, of wearing women's lingerie, which is super random. I know. And they were accusing me of other really specific and strange things. And so it was then that I realized that in that day that I stayed home from school, a couple girls had spread these rumors about me. And they spread them far and wide. And then one day, 24 hours, my social status totally dropped, you know, from from being pretty high up on the social status to being at the very bottom. And suddenly I was a target. And suddenly school was a scary place for me. And I lost all my friends. I know when to sit with. I have no one to talk with. I know when to hang out with when I'd go home I had no one to call and try to you know, make plans with and I was abandoned, just totally abandoned. And it was it really was the hardest time for me. It was you know, I'd say if something like that happened today. I'd have some tools I'd have some some deeper awareness of the world and of myself. If, at the time I didn't, and I didn't have a strong support system I had no one to talk to, and no one to turn to. And there was so much shame that I felt an embarrassment about this because I had been a successful kid up to that point. And suddenly this terrible thing happened, and I didn't know what to do.

Coach Maddox  15:21  
And how far did that follow? You? Will? You were you said in the eighth grade, it was in the eighth grade. 

Wil Fisher  15:28  
Yeah. Um, and so it was still present in the into the ninth grade by the 10th grade. I, I got clever, and I switched schools. And so that kind of changed things up for me. I mean, what was especially complicated was that I didn't know that I was gay. You know, this was like, the early 90s. Is that right? Yeah, this was the early 90s. And I just, I'd never really been educated about what that possibility was, I didn't know that two men could be attracted to each other and have a relationship. I didn't know I didn't conceive of that. I understood that it was this embarrassing, terrible thing to be ashamed of and to avoid. But I didn't understand that it might be something that could be true for me at this point. And then, when the school suddenly had determined that that was true for me, I had to start questioning that which was terrible, even more terrifying, right? And maybe want to push it away even more.

Coach Maddox  16:38  
When When did you first realize you were attracted to other boys?

Wil Fisher  16:44  
Hmm. So I'd say it was around that time. It was around that time and I I hated it. I hated it about myself. I, you know, I think in part because my family was dysfunctional, and my home was home life was chaotic. I really was striving for this white picket fence reality. You know, I really imagined myself with a wife and two kids and a home and a career. And as these rumors spread, and as I started to realize there was truth in this story, not the lingerie part. But which, you know, no judgement for folks who buy lingerie, but I wasn't buying women's luxury, but that I was actually in fact gay. When I started realizing that it was the worst thing that could possibly happen to me.

Coach Maddox  17:47  
Yeah, it was like a perfect storm wouldn't it?It all it all just happened it once puberty, you're starting to realize that you weren't looking at the girls and and then this horrible, these horrible rumors. Were there any of the friends in later years that came back around that got past it and came back around? Did you ever rekindle any of those friendships?

Wil Fisher  18:13  
Yeah, and, and honestly, I made some new friendships. By the ninth grade, I sort of realized that these popular kids were going to continue to, you know, consider me an outcast at this point. But there were other kids who were more open to my friendship. And so I was able to make a couple of friends. In the ninth grade, I mean, very few went from, you know, big group of friends to just one or two. But that was helpful. And then, as I mentioned, I switched schools. And that was helpful, because I kind of started from scratch again. In terms of folks, because I switched schools, I'm not really in contact with them. But my best friend, for example, that I mentioned, who switched tables. I had coffee with him not that long ago, a few years ago. And so yeah, he had certainly come around and, and others, you know, have connected with me on Facebook.

I haven't ever sort of had conversations with them with any of them about what happened. I've never confronted like, one of the girls who spread the rumors, is friends with me on Facebook, and I, you know, accepted the request, whatever. And I've never confronted her about it. I and even in that coffee, sit with my former best friend. I didn't confront him either. And I don't know maybe, you know, as I'm sharing that, maybe that is something that might support My full and complete healing from it.

Coach Maddox  20:02  
But well, I'm wondering, you know, rather than maybe a full on consultation

Wil Fisher  20:08  
of the conference presentation

Coach Maddox  20:15  
what it might be like to just approach them with curiosity. Yeah, just just ask, you know, what, what was that about? I just want to understand I, you know, I don't have any, you know, are you past any hard feelings at this point is?

Wil Fisher  20:35  
Yeah, I am. I don't harbor any bad feelings. I mean, one of the girls who spread the rumors was African American girl. And she was the only she was one of the only African Americans at the school. And so I, you know, imagine that that was a challenging experience for her. So certainly, I have a lot of compassion. For for her, and perhaps some of her motives were getting attention off of her as someone who was different or other. And in general, I just, I, I know that it was a different time, right, where people didn't have as much sensitivity to gay people and issues that gay people face. There was a lot of naivete a lot of ignorance on that the part of the people who spread the rumors and the people who, you know, believed them and use them against me. So, you know, I also just blame like that age, like the eighth grade is a time where you're just trying to like, survive, keep your head above water, and people are malicious. So if spreading a rumor and talking bad about someone else, is helping them feel like they belong, and feel like they're not the target. You know, it's understandable, so I get it. And it's understandable, but not really excusable. That's fair. Yeah. And, you know, that's why I'm really grateful for this opportunity to go speak at schools to make sure that kids think about the impact that their words have on others, you know, and think about the potential trauma that they can cause simply by singling someone out.

Coach Maddox  22:33  
How do you think it would land for one or two those people the most prime? I mean, the ones that were, you know, the most in your life, if you merely let them know that, that their actions hurt you?

Wil Fisher  22:47  
Yeah, yeah, I

think it'd be it'd be an interesting experiment, I imagine that it didn't occur as much of a thing for them. And they didn't realize the impact that it had on me. And I imagine that if and when confronted by that, they would be sitting with a lot of

guilt. Yeah. Well,

Coach Maddox  23:11  
they probably don't even now know the full impact. No, they weren't talking to him about the reasoning wouldn't be to try to lay guilt on him. Yeah. Yeah. That your healing and perhaps their healing as well. Yeah. Yeah. We never know what somebody is, is carrying it because we're, you know, even when we're young like that, on some level, we're aware, you know, I bullied a kid when I was probably maybe around that age. I was bullied so much that I just needed one little shred of power. And so I think somebody's weaker than me and I, I bullied him and I carried, like, the regret and the guilt of that for probably, well, 45 years. Wow, here about I don't know, five years ago, I finally found him on social media and wrote him a note and just apologized as deeply as I could didn't ask for forgiveness. Just told him that I'd had a lot of time to think about it, and that I was very aware that my actions were

Wil Fisher  24:30  
very wrong, that I

Coach Maddox  24:32  
had a tremendous amount of regret about it, and that I was deeply sorry for what I had done. took him two weeks to answer and when he finally answered, It was just two words.

Wil Fisher  24:49  
Thank you. Wow. That's all he said.

Coach Maddox  24:54  
It's beautiful. And I have to believe that that was, perhaps as healing as it was. was for me.

Wil Fisher  25:04  
Yeah, beautiful. It was, you know, I

Coach Maddox  25:07  
had searched for him for a long time, but couldn't remember how to spell his last name. And then one day I came across his name. And I was looking at one of my high school annuals and came across his name and Well, no wonder you haven't been able to find him.

Wil Fisher  25:22  
And then what about the folks who the folks who bullied you have you circled back? You know, you're asking me if I've connected with those folks. You know,

Coach Maddox  25:30  
I lived, I left that little hometown forever in a day ago and stopped going to class reunions decades ago. And, you know, if the opportunity presented itself, I wouldn't have a problem sitting down with them and having a conversation about it. I don't hold any energy on it anymore. It was, it was single handedly. I mean, it lasted it wasn't just a year or two, it lasted for most of the latter part of of elementary school, all of middle school and all of high school and even part of college.

Wil Fisher  26:07  
Oh, my gosh, lasted for

Coach Maddox  26:09  
many years. And

Wil Fisher  26:15  
I've come full circle.

Coach Maddox  26:17  
You know, I can look back now and see, perhaps what the universe was trying to do for me. You know, I, I look at now, nobody fucks with me. Hmm, no, bodyfx with me, and, and it's not, because I beat people up or anything. It's not like I have a reputation. It's just, I don't know, it's just an energy that I put off, I guess. It's taken me a long time to even discern that I used to say, you know, my God, do I have a sign on my forehead that everybody sees but me and it says, Don't fuck with me. Because nobody ever messes with me. And there was a time in my life when I just probably maybe in my mid 30s, where I hit a wall. You know, I had employers that had bullied me. It went on wave and beyond high school, college and went on and it was in my mid 30s. One day when I just couldn't take anymore. The whole world had been wiping their feet on me like I was a doormat, and I just couldn't take any more. And I just made this declaration that is, you know, I call it my Scarlett O'Hara moment. I made this declaration is God is my witness. I'll never be treated poorly ever again. And I just put off an energy that evidently says that because nobody ever pulls anything like that

Wil Fisher  27:47  
anymore. Ever. Wow.

Coach Maddox  27:50  
But I look back and I think, you know, it's not like I have a chip on my shoulder. It's not like, Oh, come on, knock that off. It is just I'm very clear that I'm not going to, I'm not going to take shit off of anybody. You know, you're gonna if you're gonna fuck with me, you better have it a knife or a gun, otherwise, it's not gonna happen. And I'm not a fighter. I'm not a fighter, but I have learned to stand up for myself. But I, you know, I've come to where I could tell you that I would never want to relive what I went through. And I would not wish it on my worst enemy. Sure. But I also wouldn't trade for the experience at this point in my life. It contributed to me. And now what I can see is such a powerful and positive way that I would not if it I wouldn't take it back if I could.

Wil Fisher  28:43  
Now. Yeah, that's powerful.

Yeah, and I don't know if I'm there yet, with mine, I can see certainly the resilience that it gave me I can see the strength that it demanded of me, I can see how, when I did come to the understanding that I am gay and started owning that, you know, that whole experience helped me become more committed to that part of me and to committed to my truth. i And so I can,

yes. Yeah.

Coach Maddox  29:24  
Can we unpack this a little bit? Certainly. Will you say it you know, when I realized I was gay, and I owned it, and I kind of want to break that down. In segments, I guess was what I'm thinking because I can recall certainly coming to the point where I could say yes, I'm gay. I want to be with a man I want to be sexual with a man I want to be in a relationship with a man I'm not. I love women as human beings. So my best friends are women. I do not want to be married to or sleep with a woman. I could I own that part of it. But I can remember a time in my early years, I had been out for a period of time I'm walking down the street one day and a car of men whizzes by, and they're all hanging out the windows, and they scream back at me, and I was just mortified. I mean, it just mortified me. And time went on. And there was a time later in life, probably 20 years later, when a similar situation happened. Car whizzes by and, and I get, you know, slammed with some things like that. Faggot, whatever. And at that point,

Wil Fisher  30:40  
it was kind of like,

Coach Maddox  30:45  
Yes, and your point, right?

Wil Fisher  30:48  
It didn't

Coach Maddox  30:50  
devastate me, or, you know, it was. And so I'm kind of wanting to you, you kind of talked about it, like it happened all at the same time compressed.

Wil Fisher  31:02  

Coach Maddox  31:06  
even though you could say, I'm gay, were you really comfortable in your skin at that point? And could you? Let's, um, I mean, I've kind of just given you a cliff notes version of how I experienced that. But let's unpack that a little bit. Because I think that's a really important part of your story. What do you think? Sure. Yeah,

Wil Fisher  31:24  
no, it certainly was a longer journey. Yeah, it was a slow progress, you know, in terms of my ability to really own it, to really be confident about it.

Coach Maddox  31:36  
I think that own it, conversation is so important. And it's owning that we're gay, it's owning that we're top or a bottom it's owning that we're, we're, you know, polyamorous sort of that we're a trans person, if this is a topic that we're not having nearly enough of, and that is owning whatever it is that we got going on with us that may not have anything to do with our sexuality at all. You know, I was a hairdresser for 40 years, and I would give a client a new haircut. And before she'd walk out the door, I'd get I'd say, girl, before you walk out that door, you need to own that haircut. No, you don't. Every friend you've got will shred your Asda pieces. Oh, my God, why did you do that? You know, but if you own it, and I, you know, it plays a big role, of course, as in our sexuality, but this own it topic goes, when we can own really, truly own our sexuality. My God, what can we own beyond that?

Wil Fisher  32:41  
Absolutely, absolutely. And, you know, it's, it's the power of declaration to so you know, I loved in your story, how there was just a point in time where you had that Scarlett O'Hara moment of like, no one's going to fuck with me anymore as of now period, and you put your foot down. And that is, in a sense, the same energy of owning it, right? It's like owning your value owning your worth. And in declaring it in that moment, you were right. People didn't fuck with you anymore.

Coach Maddox  33:12  
They didn't. I mean, I just must have put off an energy because you know it all. It was that moment when I fully embraced self respect. Yes. And I believe everything comes from the inside and works out. So when I totally embraced myself respect, that set up an example and the rest of the world just followed suit. That's it. And that's what we think we're trying to get everybody else's acceptance out here. But when we can fully accept ourselves, all this out here just suddenly falls into place magically.

Wil Fisher  33:49  
Yeah, and in a sense, as queer people, as LGBTQ people, we have the the implicit demand to practice that, right, we have this truth that society has told us is wrong, or at least during the time that we were growing up, the society's main message to us was that it's not good to be gay, that it's wrong to be gay, that you'll be an outcast if you're gay. And then we have to be with that truth and decide whether or not we're going to own it or not. And in going through that process, that internal process of challenging it, trying to push it away, really exploring it, realizing that it's not going away, and then deciding whether or not we want to be with it. Then finally coming to the other side and owning it and declaring it in some ways I think gives GBT Q folks, LGBTQ folks, a leg up on owning who we are. It's one of the gifts that we get to bring is this understanding and this practiced application of owning all the parts of ourselves.

Coach Maddox  35:00  
So there's where I want to go. Right there. We're talking in generalities. Now I want to hear your own story and what was the result as you really begin to own? Who you are, whether it be your sexuality or other things that you own? How did that change your life? What what came in as you really begin to own?

Wil Fisher  35:22  
Will Fisher? Yeah, thanks. I, I It's been a long process and continues to be a process as I discover new parts of myself, right, and then on those, but I'd say, you know, going back to the eighth grade, and then, you know, it was when I switched schools in the 10th grade, that I actually met a gay person, my best friend had a dad who came out as gay. And so then I started to see an example of what it could be to be gay, and that I could be gay without it being, you know, this terrible experience, you and so it was a slower process, it wasn't, you know, one moment of suddenly, I'm standing on the mountaintop and owning my sexuality. But I started to think maybe this thing that I've been trying to avoid trying to push away trying to hide from, isn't so bad, and maybe me starting to experience it and, and be with it might help me not have to face this, these demons, these like this push and pull. And so slowly, I started telling people, I think I'm gay. And I think it was important that it was a slow process of owning it, right, it was just step by step. And as I was able to take steps, and see that I was still safe, and that I wasn't, you know, kicked out of the tribe, so to speak, that made me feel more comfortable to own it even more, you know, and I just want to speak to that, you know, the, the reason that we are often so terrified of expressing parts of ourselves, that we believe are seen as bad, or unmoral, or worthy of being an outcast, is, is this part of our brain that wants to stay in the tribe, right, that this this human brain that wants to survive, that believes that if we are different, if we are other, if we are less than, then the tribe will kick us out. So it's, if we get kicked out, then we're, you know, we don't have access to the fire and we get eaten by the saber toothed Tiger. So it's like part of our mammal brain that wants us to belong. And it's, so that's a very hard thing to hack. And so my hacking process of that piece of me that wants to fit in and wants to be long, wants to be loved wants to have everyone liked me, was slowly let go of, as I continued to tell people and received their acceptance, or at least didn't have my life turned upside down.

So there's something

Coach Maddox  38:02  
I want to call out that you said, that sets your story. I've heard a lot of coming out stories. And you have just shared something that sets your story apart. And I kind of want to play up on it. You said you started to say to some of the people around you, I think I might be gay. Now in my own story, and most of the stories I've heard, you know, we kept that shed a secret until we figured it out. And we knew for sure. And we weren't gonna tell anybody until we you know, and you approached it a completely different way. And as you shared with people, I think I might be gay.

How did they respond?

Wil Fisher  38:47  

in my experience, folks received it well, I, I didn't have any experience where I think the most challenging was an ex girlfriend, who, you know, personalized it and felt like, oh, what does that mean about when we were together? And are you gay? Because you're not attracted to me or something like that. But But generally, yeah, people were supportive. And I think that it was, as I took these steps, and received support, that I was able to take the next step and the next step, and so, you know, as as I have evolved in, in the way I identify, I mean, I, you know, I do drag and at some point, I had already came out to my family as a as a gay person, but at some point, I had to let I didn't have to, but I decided to let them know that I do drag. So I, in a sense, came out as a drag queen, you know, it had to own that part of myself. And my, the way that I've been with these parts of my identity, in terms of sexuality and gender expression, has been an evolution. And I'd say it continues to be as I as I keep learning about these new aspects of self, and decide who I want to share them with.

Will do you

Coach Maddox  40:07  
find that as you own those parts of yourself that people are drawn to that? And I don't mean gay people.

Wil Fisher  40:17  
Yeah. Yeah,

I mean, it's like going back to what I was saying around LGBTQ folks having an upper hand in owning things, you know, we are practiced in it. And so folks crave authenticity, you know, folks crave the expression of their truth. And so I think many folks can see, those of us who have gone through that storm, you know, who have fought that battle and come out on the other side, thriving and vibrant, they can see us as beacons of hope, for the possibility of them to express their true self to live in their authenticity, right. And that's something that has drawn me to the personal growth world to coaching is that I can feel that draw towards my energy of of authenticity and self expression. And so I love to be able to share what I've learned in my journey, and support people in their journey as a way to sort of give back.

Coach Maddox  41:30  
Well, yes, absolutely. And I think that as we unpack this and talk about it, I'm you know, that owning who you are, is such a vital part of being that authentic human being, whatever label what GB, TQ, whatever we want to put on it, but just being an authentic human being that owning it. i, I came out over 40 years ago, and for the first five years, I lived in a small Central Texas town where I had to be kind of pretty closeted. But I moved to a larger city.

And this was, I mean, what it was a long time ago, I moved to Florida, I moved to Austin, Texas, in

Wil Fisher  42:16  

And I, I was

Coach Maddox  42:20  
out out in every regard. And so it's been I have owned it for so long that I kind of forget what it's like to not own it. But I but recently, I've had an experience I've been I'm in a new relationship that I've been in now for about a little over five, between five and six months. And we have a very, very popular local bike and hike and bike trail here in close proximity to where I live. And we walk almost every day on that trail together early in the morning, and we will not walk holding hands.

Wil Fisher  43:04  
And it has been absolutely, like, it has stunned me

Coach Maddox  43:10  
at how just that owning who we are walking on the local trail has attracted so many people to us. Like I've walked on that trail for over 15 years by myself as a single person. And all of a sudden, I'm walking on the same damn trail with the same people coming and going. But I got a boyfriend in tow and we're holding hands. And people are just drawn to us, they stop us and want to talk to us. And it's and I mean, I didn't see that coming. I really didn't. But I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that that they're drawn to us because we're we're fully expressed. And that's attractive, no matter who you are. That's just attractive.

Wil Fisher  44:03  
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it's what our souls want, right? It's what our unique expressions of consciousness want is to be fully express to express the deepest truth of who we are. And so anytime that a another soul sees that they're attracted to it, because they want it themselves and they see a glimmer of the possibility of it in you. They see it mirrored back to them. So it makes perfect sense to me.

Coach Maddox  44:33  
So you've talked about drag. Is that a form of expression for you? Oh, so something inside of you that it that comes out or that you get in touch with when you're in drag that isn't present when you're in street clothes?

Wil Fisher  44:54  
Yeah, absolutely. That drag gives me access to a piece For myself, yeah, that that I don't connect with as easily when I'm in Yeah, street clothes. And specifically it's a, it's a larger than life sort of energy. It's a it's a power, it's often of a, a divine feminine power. But it depends on the look, it depends on the drag, you know, there are some times where I mean drag and it's connecting me to, rather than divine feminine divine creature or divine masculine or divine, you know, so it's, but it's some kind of archetype that that drag gives me access to and it's a power and an energy. And it's, it's magic. I mean, drag, it's magic,

Coach Maddox  45:43  
it is magic, I have never, you know, put myself in the category of drag queen, but during a holiday or to Halloween or to you know, I have been in some aspect of drag a wig and lipstick and you know, something of that nature. And yes, it reaches deep into my being and sources, something that would not be sourced otherwise. And it's not really like a fake persona. Not for me. It's not it's not like this fake persona that comes out. It's something very, very real. That is completely unexpressed in invalidating. Yep, something extremely freeing. I haven't done it in decades. You know, it's not like it's not like something I, you know, like an affinity and affinity that I have, but the times I have done it, it connected me to a very remote part of myself. And it had this totally magical feeling to it. I always say to somebody that says, oh, no, I've never done drag. I'm like, You have no idea what you're missing. Absolutely. Everybody should do it at least once because it will put you in touch with something that you had no idea was even in their course that scares the shit out of some people finding something that they have no idea is in there. didn't scare me. It was like what's in there? Let's

Wil Fisher  47:10  
go find out. Ah, yeah. I'm not surprised by that. That's fabulous. Yeah, no, I've seen amazing, amazing transformations of energy as a result of drag. So part of my my legacy, from my time at ESA Mountain is the drag positive, which I don't know if you you checked out during the conference, but right outside not

Coach Maddox  47:31  
I did not go in there. But I saw men emerge from it or with Yeah. And at one point, there were some reds, high heels, slippers with feathers on the front of slides. They were and and I walked over, somebody had left him sitting there, we get in the room where you can't take shoes, and I went over and just slipped my foot I have huge feet. And the reasons I never really got serious and dragged because I had huge feet. And I slipped my foot down to that thing. And it fit me perfectly. Cinderella. In that moment, there was like this rush that happened inside of me. It was it was crazy. So I want to we're having a great time to party here. But let's let's come back to your story. Because I want to hear as you have become more fully expressed, and who you are. What has that generated in your life? What's been the, the payoff of, you know, owning who you are, and being

Wil Fisher  48:36  
more fully expressed?

Yeah, well, it really circles me back to the story from the eighth grade, you know, where I felt like, I could never be who I actually was, I felt like, I needed to pretend that I was someone who I wasn't if I ever wanted friends if I ever wanted connection if I ever wanted to belong.

Coach Maddox  49:00  
So the belief was if I'm going to have to have friends, I have to do this I have to fit in.

Wil Fisher  49:08  
Yeah, I'm gonna be someone who I'm not. Yeah, I definitely have to deny this part of me that there that they've determined is true. I have to like, make sure that goes away completely. And so, you know, from from that standpoint, I'd say that's, that's how it was at one point was this idea that I can't be who I am. And now that I've come to a place of owning all of who I am. What it gives me is confidence. What it gives me is freedom. What it gives me is deep, authentic connection. So you know, in the past, there may have been connection that was based on a false version of myself. So now, when I'm able to connect with someone, it's because they truly are attracted or interested in me for my authentic self, not for this false self that I'm putting on In order to belong, and there's nothing more valuable and powerful than then authentic validation that you receive when you have that connection,

right. So

Coach Maddox  50:11  
there's nothing that makes us feel like we belong more than what you just described. You know, there's, I always say, fitting in is where you carve parts of yourself away to be around other people. Whereas belonging is when we get to show up fully expressed. And people want to come and sit by us just by the nature of who we are, yes,

Wil Fisher  50:35  
then we can we can rest in our being we can rest in just being who we are, instead of trying to do trying to put on airs and like you said, fit in. Right, we can just be and that's such a gift. So with that comes peace, comes call comes wholeness, Completion, I mean, everything, I think it is possible, when you are able to step into your truth and own who you are, everything is possible.

Coach Maddox  51:07  
So, this has been amazing. Well, I would, I'd love to know what wisdom balm, you could drop on the listeners about you have this experience? What tip wisdom Could you share, about how they could more fully own who they are, and step into that fully expressed power?

Wil Fisher  51:37  
Yeah, I mean, I think what comes to mind based on this conversation, first off, is to be in the process of it, to to recognize that each small step is a small step that is bringing you closer to full ownership. And to give credit to that, you know, that it doesn't have to be overnight, that someone you know, declares to the whole world that they are blank, that they can take a step and then another step and another step, helping regulate their nervous system along the way. And then the other thing I'm present to is this idea of the power of declaration. So at some point to be able to own it, and to declare it in that way, that this is who I am. And, and that is okay. And I don't care if others are gonna judge me for it, or have their own potentially negative opinions about it. This is it, this is who I am. And I'm going to be with it. So I feel like those are the two themes that came up in this conversation is to trust the process and allow the process to be without rushing it or feeling in need that it all has to happen at once. And to ultimately, ideally come to a place of declaration.

Coach Maddox  52:55  
Well, and that declaration can start off being a declaration just to self you don't have to stand on a rooftop and blurt it out just yet. stand and look in your own eyes in the mirror and make that declaration until one day you're ready for somebody else to hear it besides just you.

Wil Fisher  53:14  
Beautiful Yeah, let that declaration expand and grow and get louder and bigger.

And it would,

Coach Maddox  53:22  
it absolutely would if you keep declaring it it will grow and get bigger and there'll be a point where you can't not stand and scream it from a rooftop.

Wil Fisher  53:33  
That's it.

Coach Maddox  53:34  
Mm hmm. Beautiful words of wisdom. I absolutely love that. This has been amazing.

Wil Fisher  53:43  
Oh, it's been a total pleasure. Yeah. Thank you for creating the space and asking such beautiful questions and yeah, allowing me to share my story today.

Coach Maddox  53:52  
Yeah, I just really thank you for in, in, in loving yourself in the in the conversation. How about some rapid fire questions? Now? Sure.

Wil Fisher  54:05  
All righty. Here we go.

Coach Maddox  54:07  
When was the last time you cried in front of another GP? tq.

Wil Fisher  54:11  


at the chorus Yeah, just probably last week. We sing songs together. You know, one of the beautiful things about being in the center of Gaiman's chorus is we get to sing songs. And for me often singing songs, allows my emotions to flow. And so we were singing the song called Stand up, which is from this movie about Harriet Tubman. And it's just so beautiful and so powerful that I couldn't help but cry which made it really hard to sing the song. But my core is friends, you know, they they are very accepting, loving and supportive. So there's no judgment there at all.

Coach Maddox  54:52  
That's beautiful. Yeah, I sang in the Turtle Creek chorale 30 years ago for about three seasons. And it was a magical experience.

Wil Fisher  55:03  
I love singularly magical.

Coach Maddox  55:06  
I've had very many fond memories. All right, what is the one thing that you hide? Or keep secret? Because you fear that if someone knew they would judge you? Oh, wow,

Wil Fisher  55:20  
that's a that's a bold question. See, wow, um, there's one thing that I hide, because I'm afraid people would judge me. Um, gosh, there's not a lot Maddix I am sort of having trouble thinking of something that I that I'm hiding from the world. Um, let's see. I you know, I think one of the things I don't share with a lot of people is that I sometimes do tantric practices. So I do semen retention, for example. That's not something I readily share. So I'll share it here to your listeners, that sometimes I'll do a tantric practice of semen retention, which is a practice to help cultivate erotic energy that you can then transmute into creative energy. And it's not

Coach Maddox  56:20  
easy. And it's how long do you retain? My longest

Wil Fisher  56:24  
was during COVID. And it was three months. And during that three months, there was a lot of self pleasure. So it wasn't like, I just shut sex off. You actually build the sexual energy, you build the erotic energy, but then rather than ejaculating it, you're recirculating it through the body. And then eventually, after the three months I on a full moon. On at the ocean, I had my, my climax ritual.

Coach Maddox  56:51  
Wow. And that, how's that? How's that for a secret? After? That had to be pretty intense?

Wil Fisher  56:57  
It was definitely one of the most epic, intense, amazing, magical climaxes of my life. Yeah.

Coach Maddox  57:06  
Wow. Wow. You know, I understand doing that in small ways. I've never done anything quite like that. But I know for me, as soon as I got in this relationship, I completely stopped any self play. No masturbation. I just decided I wanted to save all that energy for, you know, my partner. Yeah. And, and yeah, it's a real thing. You know, it's a real thing. I notice that as we go for a few days or a week without that happening. It's not I've never gone for super long periods of time. But it definitely builds

Wil Fisher  57:47  
builds and builds and builds. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah.

Coach Maddox  57:50  
Yeah. Yeah. What a great answer. Thank you for

Wil Fisher  57:55  
dig one up. That was juicy enough.

Coach Maddox  57:57  
It was definitely. Okay. Final question at the end of your life. When you're about to take your last breath. What is the feeling that you most want to have in that moment?

Wil Fisher  58:12  
Peace? Peace. Yeah,

Coach Maddox  58:19  
just wow, I could I could feel like the emotional emotion coming off of there. And when you said that, I'm an empath. I could totally feel that.

Wil Fisher  58:29  
Wow. Yeah. Beautifully said.

Yeah. And I think, you know, a lot of our work is to to get there to get us to a place where, when death happens, we peacefully receive it. Yes.

Coach Maddox  58:47  
I think you're right.

Well, Mr. Will Fisher, this has been amazing.

Wil Fisher  58:53  
Such a pleasure coach Maddox. I love you, and I love your podcasts. I'm so grateful for the ways that you're supporting me as I'm making mine. And I just I really appreciate you and I appreciate this opportunity to

Coach Maddox  59:06  
Well, I appreciate and love you as well. And it I'm I'm very happy to support in whatever way I can. One thing I want to leave you with though is that and and yes, I say this at the end of every episode, but I I've never said it but it wasn't true. And that is, you know, in my eyes, you are an authentic, gay, queer, whatever queer Free Will you say to queer earlier? So you are an authentic queer man.

Thank you, and Bravo to you.

Thank you, bravo to you. Thank you

Transcribed by

Wil FisherProfile Photo

Wil Fisher

Wil Fisher is the host of the “Queerly Beloved” podcast the founder of his life coaching business, Willfully Living. Currently residing in sunny San Diego, Wil offers healing and transformation work through one-on-one coaching, classes, and in-person retreats.
Prior to his time is San Diego, Wil lived on the east coast where he received his MA in applied theater from City University of New York, and founded a company called Man Question, which offers theater-based facilitation to help folks explore their relationship to masculinity and manhood. He presented this work to a range of audiences from college universities to men at a maximum-security prison. His final acts before leaving the east coast included serving as the Executive Director of Easton Mountain, an LGBTQ Spiritual Retreat Center, and performing his solo show, "Of and On Again" a story about his relationship with gender and his drag alter ego, Sylvia London.