Nov. 17, 2022

Fireside Chat With Maddox: The emotional and phycological damage caused by suppressing who you really are

My guests, Brian Janes and Brian George recount their lives as closeted gay men.  They both knew they were gay at an early age, but completely repressed that knowledge for several decades, both coming out in their early 50s.  Ironically, each of them were married with two children.  Their stories are somewhat similar in some ways and then very different in other ways.  This definitely allows you, the listener, to see this from more than one perspective.  The powerful impact of this episode is illuminating the profound costs that come along with long term repression of who you really are.  If you or someone you know is struggling with the decision to come out and embrace who you truly are, this bonus episode is for you.  Please share this with someone that may be struggling.

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Coach Maddox  0:03  
Hello, Brian Janes and Hello, Brian George, we've got to Brians in the house tonight for The Authentic Gay Man Podcast. Thank you so much for your time and energy and your willingness to tell your story tonight.

Brian Janes  0:17  
Thank you for having me.

Brian George  0:19  
Absolutely. Thank you, Maddox. Been looking forward to this.

Coach Maddox  0:22  
Thrilled to have you here. Glad to be back. So our topic tonight is the emotional and psychological damage that is done by repressing who you are for a long period of time. So we're going to call Brian Janes, Janes for tonight. And we're going to call Brian George, George for tonight. So it will be a little bit less confusing than two Brians. So Brian, Janes, or Janes, I'll get it straight in a minute. Why don't you tell us a little bit about your story. And you know, the age that you were when you finally came out. So they've got a little bit of a gist of what what what we mean by later in life, and just go from there.

Brian Janes  1:10  
Alright, well, to start with, I knew that I was gay before I knew what gay was. So it's not something that I figured out when I was in my 30s, or 40s, I always knew I did not come out until I was 51, after my divorce from my wife, which was for reasons not due to my sexuality. And so I'm looking back at all of this, because when I was in this, I was so suppressed, that I didn't have the ability to see all of the damage that it was causing me and it caused me a lot of physical damage. But what came through the most, I would say was anger, I was extremely angry. I was very insecure. I overcompensated all the time for in situations in which I didn't need to because I was hiding such a big secret. It caused me very bad depression, a lot of anguish, low self worth. The list goes on and on. So I was a walking bag of emotion for many, many years, trying to keep all of that under tight lid.

Coach Maddox  2:34  
Well, and I'd love for you to unpack some of that. Janes, how how? How did that play really specifically into you repressing the fact that you were indeed a gay man?

Brian Janes  2:50  
Well, I had a family I had a wife I have my wife was my best friend. I was never going to jeopardize my relationship with my wife, I wasn't going to jeopardize my family unit that I had built. I wasn't I was never going to come out. I was going to be married till the day I died. I was going to be married till the day I died. The voice of who I was started out, you know, not a whisper. But it was not loud. The older I got, the louder that voice became. And the louder the voice became the harder it was for me to hope. And when my wife and I separated, it was within a very short period of time, probably less than six months. It was actually two months after our divorce was finalized that I came out. So it was something that I couldn't hold on to any longer. It was causing me a lot of physical problems as well.

Coach Maddox  3:54  
Well, and I didn't wait too late in life, but for me I can remember it was like a dam breaking when it when it finally poured forth. It was literally like a frigging dam breaking out Yes, flood and I couldn't control it. And it was raging.

Brian Janes  4:10  
I came out over a three day period. So I first came out to one group of people and then the following day, I came out to a second group of people and the third day I came out to the rest of the people that I knew of so I did it in a van. Looking back, I think that I Well, I'm not gonna make, I'm not gonna say I did it for or I'm not happy with how I did it. It was a lot to cope with. And I had thought the outcome would be different. Looking back, knowing that the outcome wasn't going to be what I thought it was going to be. I probably would have been slower in my process.

Coach Maddox  4:54  
That makes sense, but I can see there was a part of you that just wanted it behind. You, I wanted

Brian Janes  5:00  
to be what I consider to be in the flow, I wanted to be in the flow of my life, I felt like I had been fighting my whole life I fought in my career, I flattened my relationships, I just, I felt like I was in a battle all the time, because I wasn't true to myself, I felt like there was a lot of friction in my life. And so in coming out, it was all going to magically disappear.

Coach Maddox  5:26  
Or that's what we think, you know, and there is there is a shift in some of it does disappear. And yet, you know, no matter where you go, there you are. Yes, so I want to backtrack, because I think that I'm kind of wanting to dig around. And when I say unpack, you listed off a whole list of things that started with earlier because I took notes, I kind of want to unpack those things, and how they, how they showed up in your life and the damage that not only it did to you internally, but the damage that it did to those around you, your your wife, your kids, co workers, family members, and the anger, there's a point where anger just gets so explosive that it affects everybody around you. So take us through. I mean, I guess what I'm looking for here is I want I want and I want my listeners to have a visceral experience, not just to hear, but to feel what you were going through as a result of that long term repression denying who you knew you really were.

Brian Janes  6:32  
Yes, core. Well, what I'm and I hope I'm answering your question. If I put all of those words that I use together, the best way to describe how I felt was extremely anxious, I was a very, very anxious person. I was anxious about time, I was anxious about just everything, everything in my life. And so because I had so much anxiety, I was very short tempered. I was short tempered with my wife, I was short term for with my kids that was short tempered with my clients. I you know, I wasn't an asshole. But I was short tempered. So I was constantly apologizing, after the fact, after I had a moment to calm down. But in any given moment, I thought that I was going to be found out someone was going to call me out because they knew who I was. And I was doing my best. I, I worked in an industry where I wear a suit to work every day. And I called it my suit of armor because I put on this suit of armor to protect me every day. And if I looked good, and if I dress sharp, and if I if anything to distract from people looking at Brian, is what I did to deflect how I was feeling on the inside.

Coach Maddox  7:56  
Tell me a little bit about the insecurity that you mentioned,

Brian Janes  8:00  
was everything. It was my height, it was my weight. It was my parents, it was how I spoke it was just I it was too much of a focus. It was my focus was nobody else's focus. So

Coach Maddox  8:20  
how do you think that related to the the repressing who you were?

Brian Janes  8:29  
How did that relate to it because I needed this had to come out. Even though I kept it in it, it found 1000 ways to come out of me and when that's how it came out of me and all of these other areas.

Coach Maddox  8:51  
You know, that makes sense. I mean, stop and think about what happens to a repressed group of people. There's a point where they come out swinging and they fight for their right to be. And I think that the internal process is probably not any different. There was a part of you that was fighting for your life, fighting for your sanity.

Brian Janes  9:18  
100% I spent many years in therapy, not sharing with my therapists that I was gay, always in there for another reason. Always the focus always been on something other than me. Well, I live the life of a victim is what I did. I was victimized by every situation and you know, at work and friendships by my wife by my kids, because I would look at myself.

Coach Maddox  9:45  
Your focus in your therapy sessions was on the symptoms, not the cause. Yes. And we never cure anything with dealing with symptoms. Yes, it's always bandaids.

Brian Janes  9:58  

Coach Maddox  10:04  
So I'm going to let George chime in a little bit now and, and feel free George to ask questions of Janes, if you want, this is a three way street.

Brian George  10:16  
Okay. So as I was listening there, there are quite a few corollaries in our stories, quite honestly, you know, as I've discussed before, I knew at a very early age that I was different, I didn't know exactly how to label that. And then, you know, even at a fairly young age, there was in my upper grade school years, there was some sexual abuse, that then kind of made me really feel different and really internalize a lot of that, and really built up my very, very strong self hatred at that time, because I, you know, I let this happen and, and other aspects of it, you know, I've even talked with my therapist, there were aspects of it that I hate to admit, I enjoyed, you know, and I guess that's not uncommon for guys that are abused, it's easy to get aroused. And so, you know, I'm heading into my middle school years, and I'm just self loathing, self hating, you know, it was just destroying me at that point, I grew up in a relatively small town, I grew up in a very Christian, right wing kind of family, I felt like there were a lot of pressures on me to be somebody that I really knew I wasn't on the inside. And so then what ended up happening is, I actually had a couple of partners in high school, very, very closeted for all of us. And, you know, I would come out of those experiences. And just, actually, you know, actually just loving what had just happened and feeling so free and refreshed, but yet, then I get back to my house, and suddenly, now I'm dealing with, oh, my gosh, you know, this is something that I'm gonna go to hell for, you know, and this is something that, you know, is wrong, and sinful, and all that kind of stuff. And so, you know, not only did my intensity towards my self hating myself grow, but now he's mad at God, too. And I was mad at God for giving me these feelings that I knew were sinful and wrong. And yet, you know, I felt a lot of guilt, shame, anger, hatred. And so this kind of manifested for years, and my depression was very evident, late in middle school, and all through high school. It just grew out of the fact that I knew that I couldn't be who I was, you know, that's not was what was expected of me. And I had to be somebody else. And so I've talked before about building up this wall around me this facade, and I knew very early on how to do that, and how to instill that around me. So that folks potentially wouldn't have the ability to kind of figure out who I really was on the inside. And so this, this mental anguish aisle toward me, and, and just caused an extreme amount of dysfunction inside of my head, I might have looked calm and cool and collected on the outside, like I was, you know, had friends and, you know, knew everything. But on the inside, I was just an absolute mess. I mean, my first suicide actual attempt was, in my, well, between my junior and senior year in college. And so by that point, I had already gotten so mad at God for not taking me from this earth, because my sin and all that kind of stuff that I was just going to do it myself, you know, the Depression had set in so deep at that point, and the, the anguish and everything just was so intense, because I couldn't deal with it. You know, I had to be this person that I thought everybody wanted me to be that I was supposed to be, but yet I wasn't. And so, you know, I got married, had a couple of kids. And over the years, I was able to kind of manage a lot of the depression and suicide early on. But as the years went by, that those emotions, those feelings just kept coming out more and more and more, to the point at which, you know, three years ago, or so now, I was just done with life, flat out just done with life. You know, I was, I was back in the hospital again, and I just, you know, I sent friends and family a message saying, I don't think I want to make it two more months. And it's just because of that turmoil and everything going on inside of me was so intense, and so repressed that I Um, I just could no longer function, quite honestly, as it came out.

Coach Maddox  15:08  
Wow, well in brand till I mean, I know, I know the story, but talk about the last suicide attempt, because I think that's a significant piece of the story.

Brian George  15:20  
It is there kind of three in a row that happened, you know, right at the end, and one was kind of set in motion by just some silly, you know, it took nothing for me to trigger, let's say that, you know, things that people would look like and go, Well, that's not a big deal. You know how on earth, I had just gotten to that point where it was so easy to find a trigger where I would just go, I'm done with life, just I'm out of here. And so I had one took a little bit of time off from work just a couple of weeks, went back for a couple of weeks. And then I had another attempt that was very serious. And that landed me back in the hospital. And my final attempt was actually in the hospital. I was so distraught with what was going on, I was just feeling so depressed. I had had, I think it was an argument with my ex wife at that point where she was my wife, but not my ex wife. And so it just drove me into an extreme state of depression that even within the hospital, I was actually able to take my own life. And I coded and they brought me back, they discovered me and brought me back. And then I spent time in the E ICU and back in the mental hospital for quite a while. I mean, it was just my life was a mess. It was a mess on the inside. And people just couldn't understand that. You know, before that last time, I went into the hospital. I had actually had a dinner party on a Saturday night, and I loved my dinner parties. We'd had friends and stuff like that I booked out a restaurant, a really nice restaurant here in Dallas. And all of us went we're having a good time. And that's when I basically announced everybody, you know, I'm just a mess. Because that Saturday morning, I had planned to kill myself. And so I somehow though convinced my wife to you know, let's go to this dinner party, you know, it's paid for all that kind of stuff. Went had my fake Mian, smiles, laughing making sure everybody had a great time. Didn't go to sleep at all that night. And that's when I wrote that message to friends and family and said, I'm done. I'm done with life. I can't see living another couple of months. Went back into the hospital then right away. And that's when when the end came, but yet that end was a new beginning.

Unknown Speaker  17:54  
So sorry.

Brian George  17:57  
Well, I'm not the only one I'm not the only one that deals with it kind of extreme intense emotion and pressure. You know, just like you, Brian. I had periods Yeah, Jains, where I had periods where I could be very touchy, and very nitpicky and downright hard on my family and get angry and so forth. All because I was doing everything possible to present as the best family on earth. You know, everything's perfect. Nothing to see here. Nothing going on behind the scenes, etc. When in all reality, you know, even my family life was in shambles a lot of times because of that. So my head is in shambles. My family lives in shambles. I was a ticking time bomb, quite honestly, I was just a ticking time bomb trying to repress all of that and not deal with it.

Coach Maddox  18:50  
Well and James, I would love for you to talk a little bit about the the physical damage that you experienced. Hmm. My cutting? Yeah. Um take a deep breath,

Brian Janes  19:17  
I would just get myself to a point where I couldn't contain myself anymore. I was boiling over. I was just boiling over and I needed to just escape. And I felt so dead inside as much anxiety as much as I was going on that should have made me not feel dead inside. I felt very dead inside and when I would cut on myself or if it brought me to life, I use the word zing. Now, when that razor blade would cut through my skin, it was a thing. It lit my hole. It just all of my centuries just just lit up. I felt so alive.

Coach Maddox  20:18  
We're gonna say I want to ask a question. That was the only time you actually could actually have a feeling is that correct? Am I understanding correctly?

Brian Janes  20:27  
So only time I cried. I was never a crier. I cry now. But I never I never cried, never cried. That's the only time I cried, I wept. I would weep, whatever, just

Coach Maddox  20:40  
gut wrenching, while you were cutting yourself

Brian Janes  20:42  
beforehand. When I was cutting myself, it was very calm. I had kind of graduated to a place, unfortunately, where I would set my scene. So I knew it was I knew what I was going to do. Now, in the beginning, when I was cutting myself, it was more erratic. Once I knew what I was doing, I, I set the scene for it. I knew what I was moving into things.

Coach Maddox  21:14  
So am I hearing you say that it almost became like, some form of a ritual

Brian Janes  21:18  
did Yes, it did, fortunately. Yeah,

Brian George  21:21  
I was gonna say it sounds like a ritualistic grooming mechanism, you know, some way to release? Those feelings are something inside of you. You got some release out of that?

Coach Maddox  21:39  
Wow. So do you do either of you have any questions for the other? No, I don't want to be the only one asking all the questions here. Help me Help me unpack this.

Brian Janes  21:50  
I think that we've both experienced a lot of the exact same suppress pain, we just had two different ways of living it out.

Coach Maddox  22:02  
Well, and is there what does it feel like to realize that you're not the only one? Yeah. Is there? Yeah,

Brian Janes  22:15  
I've heard a lot of so you know, I thought I was on an island all by myself for many, many, many

Brian George  22:23  
years. That's amazing. Because same exact, yeah, I've got that same exact experience, you know, I thought, oh, my gosh, there's no one else out there like me? Yes. You know, I'm just in them. And I felt I felt lonely. I felt abandoned, I felt afraid. All of those things, you know, as I'm going through all of this turmoil, which is pretty much what you're describing the same as also. And I've discovered over time, as I've kind of studied this and read more about this is man, there are so many people like us out there that feel that alone. pneus and that abandonment and don't know where to turn. And that's

Coach Maddox  23:02  
tragic. And a family you both had wives and children, yet, they didn't have any idea who you

Brian Janes  23:10  
really weren't known for now.

Coach Maddox  23:13  
No. And on some levels, you didn't really know who you were at your core, you just knew that you were gay, you knew that you were different. You knew that you were gay, but you probably didn't, without being able to express that you wouldn't even know what that meant.

Brian Janes  23:28  
Now, I thought it was cursed. Because for whatever reason, I didn't come out. I wasn't living a gay lifestyle. I was this man trapped in this body with all of these feelings that weren't correlating with who I was on the outside. It was two completely different people. I thought I was cursed. But you know, I didn't really believe in curse. But that's how I felt I felt all alone. Nobody else is dealing with this. Nobody else in this world feels the way I feel if you're gay, you're out as gay, you're straight. You're straight. I was just one person that was acting straight and feeling gay.

Coach Maddox  24:08  
And there was no safe place to turn. None.

Brian Janes  24:13  
I told nobody. I did not share my secret with anybody.

Brian George  24:18  
Mine is just a little different than that. I would say in that. You know, very early on, I knew I was gay, just flat out and do it. And I had some choices to make along the way. And those choices that I made, let's say during high school, and there was a pivotal moment in my senior year. Those choices were to go ahead and repress my gayness because of societal pressures and familial pressures and and things like that. And so you know, quite honestly, it wasn't long after college then. And I was married and whatever when I started finding or not necessarily Finding but resourcing gay porn even before the internet, and so I saw and read things that, you know, I knew that I wanted, but I couldn't, you know, I couldn't let myself you know, you're also looking here at the guy that, you know has a his primary degree is in Christian theology, you know so I'm overcompensating for everything trying to be that person, I thought I was supposed to be one on all reality I'm doing all these things. And I know that this is what I want. This is you know what I craved and desired and so I had that going for me many, many years. Leading up to my, well, I'll call it my final demise in my early 50s. But like I said, that it really wasn't it was just the beginning of a new and better life.

Brian Janes  25:50  
I also sought out gay porn, but I am not the most computer savvy person. So I never looked at porn on my phone on my computer, I didn't look anything porn related on anything that I had, I traveled for work a lot. And I would always rent gay porn in my hotel room. And I would come home feeling so unbelievably guilty and shameful of myself that when I got home, I put myself 100% aside, and I just, you know, I was like, hey, whatever anybody wants what everybody needs, because inside, I felt so dirty and shameful that I didn't feel like I had a voice in my family. I didn't feel like, I could speak for myself, because I was doing all of this stuff. You know, while I was out traveling, I might. Yeah, my first experience with a man was when I was 51.

Brian George  26:50  
So on the flip side, and mine was literally like, I was age 1415. And, and, you know, and, and that's why it's just so so difficult about it is I'm also not the only one that is experimented like that, and then lead a heteronormative life. And the damage, the psychological damage it does to you is just phenomenal. You know, I often look back, I'll tell this one story about it. My best friend in high school kind of came out as gay. But he wanted me where it was later in life also. But he wanted me to actually go to the same college with him and be his roommate. And so I knew exactly what that meant, you know, and exactly what that would lead to. And so that's one of those pivotal moments where I made that choice to go, I just can't do this, you know, I, that's just so wrong. And so I know, I want it and I've experienced it with other people in high school, but I just, I can't come out and do that. And you know, I often look back at a couple of pivotal moments like that and just go, what would have been like if I had actually done that and come out, the anguish and the hurt and the sorrow and everything that I caused myself and everybody else along the way, you know, would not have happened, but I just I felt trapped. I felt like I couldn't come out. And so anytime I run across somebody like this, I'm like, you have that power to come out and be yourself and not for oppressive.

Brian Janes  28:39  
Yes. On the flip side of that, if my wife had never asked for a divorce, I would still be married. I don't think I would have I wouldn't have I would have never had the courage to do this. I look back I have my children. I have a 30 year relationship with my wife was my best friend. So I can look back and regret any of my decisions because I have the most blessed relationship with my wife. And I have two great kids. So you know, it's hard.

Coach Maddox  29:13  
So I'm hearing you say James that if you could go back in time and do it over you would do it the way you did it.

Brian Janes  29:23  
Um I would, I would. Everything happens for a reason. Everything happens for a reason my I have I have my kids, my children are the biggest blessing in my entire life. I can't imagine making a decision 30 years ago that would have changed not having my children.

Coach Maddox  29:51  
So you have no regrets of the way it folded and folded. And yet still there As massive consequences, massive. And, George, what about you? If you could go back to the beginning? Would you do it differently? Or would you do it the same?

Brian George  30:16  
I would do it 100% differently, because now I love my kids. And I have a grandson that I absolutely adore, adore that little gift. But I would not do it that way again, just because of the harm. It brought to me the harm that I brought to my family while trying to manage through these suicidal and depressive episodes. Yeah, it's just, it's just not fair to to everyone else. Let alone even myself. That's the selfish view. But it may not I look at it from the standpoint of there's so much hurt and anguish now. I came out while I was still married. And so that, that makes a big difference. I think there because, you know, I saw firsthand what it was doing to my kids and my ex wife and and it's just it's it's been difficult to deal with. Absolutely. Yeah. So I would, I would do a completely different, I would have gone off to college with my best friend. Or just come or just come out like one of the guys that I was having relations with in high school, he came out in high school. And God I was afraid he was gonna out me, but he never did.

Coach Maddox  31:42  
So I want to talk a little bit about the shame. Both of you talked about the shame that you felt when you were rooting around on porn and art. Or, you know, George, you having their extracurricular activity in those early years.

Brian George  31:57  
I had a lot of that in the later years to Grindr, and I were very good friends.

Coach Maddox  32:02  
And I'm, I'm sure there was a pretty hefty some of of shame that went along with it that, but I guess what I'd like to hear from both of you is where you are with that. Now, you had shame during that period of your life where you were repressing, and things were leaking out, you know, you were sneaking off to watch porn or sneaking off to be with a man and things were leaking out somehow. Where are you with shame. Now present day, both out both divorced both have new lives? Where are you with shame.

Brian George  32:44  
I have no shame for myself now. You know, I really don't feel any of those feelings and emotions. You know, for me, it was literally almost an overnight transformation. over a couple of months as I started to unpack who I really was, and work my way through that with a psychologist. I still have though.

Unknown Speaker  33:09  
Shame for what happened beforehand.

Brian George  33:12  
You know, just because I don't care who you are nobody. Whether you're married to a guy or a woman, nobody deserves for you to be off doing the things I was doing while you're married to them. And that's just my perspective. I know there are open relationships now and stuff like that, but we were not. Yeah.

Coach Maddox  33:37  
What about you? Where are you? Shame.

Brian Janes  33:39  
I forgave myself, I as far as shame, there was probably a good year in which I was living on my own. You know, my wife and I were divorced. I'm out, I would see another person that a year ago, I would have had blinders on. So I would have never recognized would have never looked at them. I would see that person. And because I had trained myself. I mean, it was embedded in me. If I looked at somebody, I was guilty, you know, I was doing something wrong, I was bad. So to be single and out and allow myself to look at another person or find enjoyment in looking at another person or allowing myself to be attracted to another person. I would immediately feel shame. And I would be like, Well wait a second, and I was in therapy, several years of therapy and I'm like, wait a second. I don't have to be ashamed of this anymore. I need to retrain myself I need to I need to allow myself the freedom to be myself. I'm I want to be in this flow, this energetic flow with who I am. But I need to allow myself to be that at the same time. So that took work, but I don't have any Today, I don't have any shame over who I am. That's beautiful.

Coach Maddox  35:06  
You know, I think there's something worth calling out here. And that is, you know, we've talked about the physical aspects, whether it be cutting or suicide. We've talked about the varying different mental anguishes, the anger, the anxiety, the depression, the loneliness, all of those things.

Brian Janes  35:31  
And, I, I think that

Coach Maddox  35:36  
the piece that's coming up for me right now is how intense that shame is during that period of time. In other words, if I mean, I came out at 24, so I had a little bit of shame I had to deal with, you guys had decades of shame you had to deal with. And there's a huge cost in that like, like a deep emotional cost to that, I kind of want to talk about what because we've talked about the effects, you know, the cutting the anger, all that, but I want to talk now about what that repression cost you. Like, for instance, George, it cost you a potential relationship with your your buddy, that would you'd gone off to college and lived with. And there's probably many other things, I kind of want to unpack that and really look at as many things as we can, it can identify that that long term repression

Brian Janes  36:42  
cost you. Who's first was so mean, for me, I will tell you because I lived so suppressed without allowing myself to be emotional, other than with anger. I would hear people use the word passion that a passion that a passion or but he had a passion, I had no passion for anything. I you know, I did what I was supposed to do. I went through life, doing what I was what I thought I was supposed to do. I was so numb, that I robbed myself, of passion of having a passion of discovering Passion, have the freedom to be me and celebrate me. I was bad. I never celebrated myself, my you know, I put myself on the back burner. In every situation. So what it cost me was my ability to discover who I was what I wanted, what I liked.

Coach Maddox  37:59  
I'm thinking if you were so numb, that you couldn't feel anything that anger, there was probably a whole lot of a lot of other feelings besides passion that were that you just never experienced in all those decades. Are you aware of some of what that was? Can you label them, name them. Things that you're very aware that you missed out on because you were so that you couldn't, couldn't couldn't go there.

Brian Janes  38:28  
The biggest thing I missed out on was me. That's the that's the biggest thing I missed out on. I never allowed myself to be my true authentic self. Because I was never my true authentic self. Everything that came from me everything that was that I projected, was how I thought I had to be who I thought I had to be how I thought I had to act, it was all about showing up as who I thought I was supposed to show up as not myself. So that's my biggest loss is myself.

Coach Maddox  39:05  
Would you look back on all that now and say that it was you were living a lie would that does that language that

Brian Janes  39:13  
I loved my wife. I loved my wife. I was in love with my wife. We were friends before we got into a relationship. Our friendship turned into an emotional connection. And our love was more emotional than passionate. So I still love her. I still have an affinity for my ex wife

Coach Maddox  39:46  
George, what about you?

Brian George  39:47  
You know, the first thing that came to mind? You know when you brought up this topic was happiness and peace. You know, I wasn't necessarily looking for any thing, you know, external, it was just, I never experienced that piece in my life. Because, you know, I'm gonna go literally back to I mean, it was second or third grade, I knew I was different. I had a crush on my guy friends, not the girls, you know, in grade school. And so, you know, I knew I was different. And so. And I've written extensively about how even at that very early age there just knowing that I had that. And I wasn't good at a lot of the guy stuff. And in the early 70s, you know, that was pretty much expected. And so I just never had that happiness and peace within my life. And that carried throughout. Until really, I started unpacking things and came out a couple of years ago. It's one of those things that Was I happy in life. Yeah. You know, like, just like James is saying, you know, I loved my wife, we had a connection. And it was not very sexual. But yes. And I missed that still today. You know, I wish we were still friends. But I never had, I never had that peace, and that deep, deep peace within myself to just say, you know, it's going to be okay. Because I didn't think it would be. And so the other thing I think, that I really missed out on, and I would have never guessed it even a couple of years ago when I came out. But I've got a partner now very serious partner, and the deep love we have for each other and the emotions I feel and the intensity is beyond anything I've ever experienced. Just having that relationship that I've always dreamt of always wanted, you know, is just is just amazing at this point. You know, you you asked James about, you know, did you ever feel like you're living a lie. And I get asked that quite a bit, and had been accused of that quite a bit. I still say no to that. Only because it was real. You know, everything I went through everything I experienced was real. You know, so it wasn't a lie. Now, was I not revealing that I was gay? Yes. Would you call that a lie? I felt like I couldn't reveal that. So in essence, it kind of is. But, but my life was not a lie. Because I had those experiences. We had those times together.

Brian Janes  42:55  
You know, sexuality is a portion of who you are. It's not your all have you. So yes, I agree

Brian George  43:02  
with you. Absolutely. It's just a portion. Absolutely. Yeah. So those, those are the things that immediately came to mind. For me, you know, on what I what I was missing, so

Coach Maddox  43:17  
well, and when you now you're, you're out. And you know what gay life is like you've had some experiences. Even though, you know, you may or may not do it over the same. What is the knowing what you know, now, what is the one thing that you perhaps wish that you hadn't missed out on? And I know, we can't second guess, you know, we can't go back. But I think it's just a point point of interest, you know, the nature of this topic, what what is the one thing that you look back on that you wished you hadn't missed out on?

Brian George  44:04  
For me, I'm gonna get back to you know, it's the relationship, the fact that I am free to have any emotional connection with a guy. You know, I've got that now, but I missed on that for so many, many years. And I had no idea quite honestly, how I yearned for that, you know, I yearned for just aspects of what I thought gay like, was from the little I'd read and and, you know, porn is not really a good way to get a feel for anything but. But just that emotional, intense connection, and that love that is deeper than any other I've experienced is just, it's phenomenal. You know, it's just I definitely missed out on that. For most of my life, James just why it still goes back to the fact that I would do things differently. Yeah.

Coach Maddox  45:09  
What about you, James? Um,

Brian Janes  45:13  
well, I have not started dating yet. I really have spent the last couple of years healing myself knowing, like getting to know who I was at my core. Because I never felt grounded. When I was not living my true life, I felt like I was tethered or anchored, but I never felt grounded. So it's really grounding myself, and I will I won't settle are going to settle for a dysfunctional relationship, I'm not going to settle for whatever, I know what I want. And I'm going to make myself the best version of me, in order to attract what I want in return. I can't, I can't attract something that I'm not exactly Mulligan to attract, when I'm on my vibration, I'm not going to attract a super healthy person if I am like, completely, you know, in the toilet with my mental health. So what I look forward to is experiencing passion with another man. True intimacy with another man, I you know, I want the connection with the mind, the body and the spirit. I want all of it. So I don't slower to that.

Brian George  46:42  
Yeah, I agree. That's a great way to summarize the connection, right body of spirit,

Coach Maddox  46:46  
yes, great way to summarize it, and each of us innately deserves that. We don't have to be or do anyone, do any anything to deserve that we, you know, it's I think it's a birthright to have love acceptance, have that we're put here to pair off, you know, all the animals, we all pair off. I think that and I have experienced this over the last three or four years in my life that my key to everything has, I've realized is my ability to really show up authentically in every area of my life with every human being and to risk vulnerability. On a daily basis. Yes, I think that if we're ever going to have what we truly desire. And if it's going to ever be mind, body, and spirit, it's only going to happen for us when we can get truly authentic with ourselves, followed by truly authentic with others, and it has to happen at home first.

Brian Janes  48:02  
My best friendships, my best relationships have been cultivated in the last two years. Because I am showing up as mean, I am vulnerable I am. I'm just showing up this mean, and it is attracting a quality and a different level of people into my life. So I have very fulfilling friendships at this point in my life that I didn't really have, because I wasn't willing to be vulnerable. Right? So that's a huge gift from well, and

Coach Maddox  48:40  
it is only a matter of time. And I can promise you this if you stay the course, it is only a matter of time. Till that shows up in the form of a relationship.

Brian Janes  48:53  
I agree. I believe that. I do believe that. And I vision. So I know, I know what I'm putting out there energetically. And

Coach Maddox  49:06  
there is a really heavy duty piece of manifestation connected to authenticity and vulnerability. It is a powerhouse in in the ability to manifest.

Brian Janes  49:24  
Yes, I read a lot of self help books or read a lot of books just to move me in the direction of where I want to be. And, yeah,

Coach Maddox  49:38  
well, you know, there's a lot of things, challenging things and in our life in our world right now and a lot of uncertainty but one thing that I can say for where we are right now in the world is we have more resources at our fingertips than we have ever had. In all of humanity. Yes. And it's and now it's available and it's affordable for everyone. Whether it's a therapist or a coach, or or that weekend seminar, or that retreat, or the self help books, or the documentaries, or it goes on and on, and more than we could ever consume in a lifetime, we are very blessed in that regard, all we have to do is take advantage of it, you guys know me probably well enough to know that I am a king size advocate for what I call the work,

Brian Janes  50:34  

Brian George  50:38  
Yes, and we've talked a lot about that. And it's not easy to do to become that authentic self. But you know, what I want to say, James is that, you know, it's always a work in progress, there's always something you need to work on, there's always something that can help even become more authentic, you know, in those areas where you still might be holding back a bit or something like that. So. So that's why I kind of got into dating kind of fairly early is just because I've done a lot of work over the prior couple of years, I knew I was in a better state, I knew I still had room to grow, but I at least wanted to get out there and start experiencing and, and seeing what things could be like. And I came across a lot of people that I knew Oh, no Heavens, no, you know, but then eventually that one person that, you know, just landed right here in my lap, shall we say? So. It's always a work in progress. And you know, don't don't shut yourself down for experiences, whether they be relational or otherwise.

Brian Janes  51:48  
Yeah, I don't want to bank on the gay community. That's not my objective, I find that when I go out to an area where there are gay restaurants, gay clubs, gay bars, I do not have a good time, I have a much better time sitting in a bar restaurant with my heterosexual friends, because we're actually they're having conversation. We're connecting with one another. When I put myself in an environment where I'm in these gay clubs or gay restaurants, it feels so sexually charged, that nobody's paying attention to anybody else's there. There's no conversation going on. The focus is on everything. External, and it just doesn't feel like a real experience for me. I agree.

Brian George  52:39  
I agree. I agree with you. Yeah. 100%, I agree with you. I mean, my experience with the gay bars, and the gay scene, quite honestly, is prior to me coming out. And you know, and it was just so that I could feel that energy, so I could see it and experience it, and you know, whatever. But, you know, I knew I wasn't going to meet a quality person that way, you know, or build relationships with those types of folks. And so, you know, I use the regular dating apps and so forth to meet people. And, you know, I have intense, meaningful conversations before we even ever get together for the first time. And you know, that's just kind of how I drove it. And well, that's how you and I met. Yeah, that is how we met actually, it was on a dating app.

Coach Maddox  53:33  
The listeners maybe don't know that. But you and I met on Facebook dating? Yes. We had a few exchanges. We did a zoom together. And then we had dinner together. And we actually went on several dates, and then realize that we were probably more suited for friendship and we become close. We've become quite close. Yeah, very much. And I love his partner. You know, this is why I said earlier that I have started hosting gatherings in my home because I have experienced exactly the same thing when I'm out in the restaurants and the bars in the gay establishments. But I had a house full of men in my home last night. And the room was not sexually charged. The conversations were unbelievable. I received text messages all night last night after the party ended and all day today saying that was amazing. I met some incredible people thank you for doing this. I'm telling I'm a believer in take the the bull by the horns if you're not having the experience you want going to other people's experiences. Create your own experience. Brian has now well Yes, last night he came but didn't feel well and didn't stay very long. But he's been to To have my party so you can art. George, I should say, has been the two parties gonna test there's something to this?

Brian George  55:08  
Absolutely, there is. And that was my point earlier as you know, yeah, the club and that kind of scene is just it just wasn't gonna find a person for me or even friends. You know, let's just go back to that. And so you know, it's through those other resources, you know, and even through things like Maddox has put together, that you do, you get to meet people that are actually interesting to talk to, and want to just have a relationship and see where it might go, if it does go anywhere, versus you know, the sexually charged and you know, the person that's really trying to hit you up in the bar, just because you know, they want a little PC of that night or something like that. Yeah,

Coach Maddox  55:51  
I have a circle of friends now that are about eight, there's about eight of us and all and their quality friendships, they're the they've got my back, I've got their back, we have quality conversations when we get together. I didn't have I've only had that this has only been in the last maybe three or three and a half years. And I would say the way I have done that is to take responsibility for my social life. It has been through hosting gatherings, meeting men handpicking, the ones that I thought I had something in common with, I'd host an event. I mean, I've my close friend. Now one of my closest friends, his name is Edie hosted event he showed up, I walked up to him introduce myself, we had a little conversation and I could see we really had some energy in common. I said, would you have coffee with me next week, he said, I'd love to have coffee with you next week, we went out on a couple of dates. It wasn't the romantic chemistry just wasn't really there. We are very close now and have been for three and a half years. And that wouldn't have happened if I hadn't taken responsibility for my own social life.

Brian George  57:01  
Well, for me, you know, just even coming out gave me that opportunity to make meaningful friendships, you know, I, I still have, you know, just a handful of gay friends. You know, but I'm very close to each one of them. And it's because I've let myself experienced that I've let myself go. I've told the story. I think even on the podcast before that, you know, prior to me coming out, I had a whole lot of friends and I'm using air quotes on that. You know, just because of activities, I did things I did things I paid for all that kind of stuff. They were all very conservative, though. Boy, the minute that I came out, they dropped like flies, I knew I would lose a lot of them. I had no idea I'd lose all of them. And so, you know, I still only have one person that knew me pre gay. And that's it, you know? And so just the ability then to find and seek out those authentic, meaningful relationships. I mean, these are people that get me, these are people that aren't going to turn their back on me when something goes, you know, against their beliefs. And that, you know, in and of itself is well worth coming out.

Unknown Speaker  58:24  
sooner than later.

Brian George  58:28  
I agree with them. Yeah. Yeah.

Coach Maddox  58:32  
You know, I really believe that the universe will find a way to put our dialogue tonight in the ears of those that need to hear it. So I'm going to ask each of you can take turns

what would what wisdom would you impart if there were a man right now, whether it be a man that is in his late teens or early 20s? Who has not come out yet? Or whether it be a man that's now 50 or 60? That hasn't come out yet? What is the wisdom balm that you would like to leave them with based on all of your experience?

Brian Janes  59:25  
For me, I in being true to myself and telling my story and letting everybody around me know who I am. I have had so many people come to me and confide in me and tell me that they were feeling that they're feeling the same way that I had felt for 2030 years. People are coming to me with their story. I'm a safe person that they can talk to. I think that for somebody that's In the closet, just to let them know that there are resources. And another resources, I thought I was a monopoly, I did not know that was that I could look up something and find out that there's a whole community of people that were in the same position I was in. So I would just let them know that there are some resources, there are people to talk to you to, there's all kinds of stuff that you can, you know, log into even Facebook groups, and just know that there's safety out there for you to express how you're really feeling what's going on inside of you, so that they don't do something like George or myself, did. Beautiful, thanks.

Brian George  1:00:51  
My advice is very, very similar it but it's going to be more geared towards don't wait. You know, life is so short as it is, you know, the longer you wait, the harder it is everything I thought as a teenager, that would happen. If I came out, back then didn't happen. When I actually came out. I was afraid my parents would reject me, I was afraid my family would shun me, I was afraid I'd have no friends. You know, and I'd be alone. But in all reality, my parents are very accepting. And I was very surprised. And they actually love my partner, they've met him a couple of times already. And they absolutely love him. My family was exceptionally supportive. My brother, my cousins, you know, nieces and nephews, and, and I mean, they were just all like, ecstatic and happy, because half of them had seen the signs over the years anyways, and kind of wondered when I was going to come out anyways. But, you know, all the things I feared for so long, did not come to fruition. Did not.

Coach Maddox  1:02:11  
And that's true for a lot of people, there are a few people that experienced those really severe consequences. There

Brian George  1:02:17  
are, there are. And that's why I say you know, come out as soon as you feel you can. But there are there are support groups out there, there are ways to deal with it. If a family does kick you out and stuff like that. There are resources available, like we talked about earlier.

Brian Janes  1:02:33  
And everybody's story is unique. I did not have any negative feedback of anybody that I told, when I came out. I don't know that I cared because it was more important that I was true to myself. So I was telling them so that they would know. And I thought if somebody gave me a negative response, and I would just cut them out, because they're not going to be you know, I'm only going to surround myself with things that are going to help me grow. So I wasn't open to people being negative, but I did not have one negative response.

Coach Maddox  1:03:16  
James, James, I don't think that's a coincidence. I think that you moved through that with energy that was so filled with self acceptance, that those people couldn't do anything but except you. If you had been moving through and telling people that you were gay and you were feeling you know, very insecure about it and you weren't even accepting yourself yet. You would have been barrage those same people would have barrage you quite possibly because the the life life reflects back to us where we are. You didn't have all of that because you were in a sound place. You have done your work.

Brian Janes  1:03:57  
Yes. I've been in therapy for probably five years before that. A lot of that was just because of me. Some of that was my family dynamic work, whatever. But I had been working on myself for many years before that. So I was very confident when I came out. I was it wasn't up for debate, conversation. It was hey, just FYI. Was matter of fact. Yes. I thought it was in a way on tomorrow.

Coach Maddox  1:04:31  
And what you think about me is really none of my business. Yes, yes. I love that that saying. So I guess I'm feeling the urge right now to just ask anybody that's listening to this episode right now. If you know somebody that would get value out of hearing these men stories, please share it with a people that you think would have a meaningful impact. For Is there anything either of you would like to add? Before we wrap?

Brian George  1:05:06  
There's, there's one thing that that came to mind is James was speaking there during that last piece was, you know, I've had several folks ask why I am so public about being gay. You know, quite honestly. And there you go exactly as you're shocked. And I've got a couple of very prideful shirts and stuff, too. And just even with some of the bracelets I wear and stuff like that. And, and the reason is whether a couple of reasons. One is because for 51 years, I felt like I couldn't, you know, and so that's why I am, you know, out there now, not outlandish, not wearing tutus and stuff, but I'm out there. And the biggest reason behind it is because I want people to know that I am gay, then I'm older. And I'm a likable guy. I'm not, you know, some kind of stereotypical, whatever that they think of when they think of, you know, gay people in tutus or something like that, and the pride parade. And, you know, I've spent most of my time out in the suburbs. And so, you know, it's it's a new experience for folks out there a lot of times to see two guys walking, holding hands just doing life.

Coach Maddox  1:06:21  
Yeah, we have the right to do that. I walk the Katy Trail today with my guy holding hands. That's awesome. And it was

Brian Janes  1:06:30  
May zing, Georgia. It's so funny that you say that because I also am celebrating who I am. i The very first time I wore a pride shirt, I walked into a restaurant, and the hostess said to me, you're such a great dad, because he thought I was waiting for one supportive one of my children. But I was worried for me. Right? My older son came out to me in the same conversation that I came out to him. So that was amazing. He was 17. This two years ago, and he said welcome to The Club. So he was telling me that he was getting the same time. I went online, I went on Amazon and I bought us both just pride shirts and socks and hoodies. And I can't wait for it to come in the mail came in the mail. And I like just go into his room like it was Christmas is celebrating like, give him all this pride stuff that I bought for him. And he said, Dad, I know who I am. I don't need to advertise it. i I'm me. So he had a very different look on that because he had never not been himself. I knew he was gay. My Excellent. He was gay. He just hadn't shared it with us. But he never changed who he was. He was he's himself. He has no experience of

Coach Maddox  1:07:53  
repression is what yourself none. Right? So it's completely different perspective. A perspective.

Brian Janes  1:07:59  
Yes. So I think that's awesome. Yeah, I'm not wearing a tu tu I'm not doing any of that. I'm kind of a masculine dad, still, with the sports and all my stuff. But I'm gonna wear a pride shirt, a private bracelet on everyone. I want to, I want people to know who I am. I'm proud of who I am. And if anybody looks at me, and they, you know, wished that they had the courage to be their true self, they can look at me and know that I'm living my truth.

Coach Maddox  1:08:33  
Yeah, you know that that is one of the most powerful forms of activism right there living your life openly and honestly. Yes. Beautiful conversation, George and James, this has been wonderful. I can can't even imagine how this is going to ripple out and affect the man who most need to hear this conversation is discussion, these stories. Thank you so much. It's been an honor and a pleasure to share this dialogue or not a dialogue, this conversation.

Brian George  1:09:08  
Thank you for having me.

Brian Janes  1:09:10  
Thank you. It was a pleasure. Absolutely.

Transcribed by

Brian GeorgeProfile Photo

Brian George


Brian came out as gay very late in life. After a lifetime of struggling through depression and suicide attempts, Brian finally came to terms with and accepted his authentic self. His experiences growing up in a heterosexist culture resonates with many gay men. The pressure to be heteronormative overwhelms so many gay youth and men to the point in which they see suicide as the only option. Brian hopes to tell his story to keep others from this course and help them live an authentic life.

Brian JanesProfile Photo

Brian Janes

In March 2019 my high school sweetheart ended our 30-year marriage leaving me shattered and heartbroken at age 50. Her leaving me was a devastating gift because it later allowed me to face a deeply suppressed reality that I was a closeted gay man. With the help of my therapist, I came out on July 6th, 2020 with a very naïve mindset that my life would magically become the suppressed fantasy I secretly dreamed of. In reality it became a deep dark hole in which I was engulfed by a monsoon of shame, guilt, lies, hurt and a new level of loneliness that I could never conceive existed.

Swimming in a sea of depression December 2021 was the absolute lowest point in my life and I resigned to a mindset of just waiting to die.

In January 2022 I decided to make one last effort to improve my life before allowing myself to be swallowed up by a mindset I could not previously escape. I picked up a book (The Fifth Agreement) and this book became my lifejacket and provided the push I needed to commit to shifting my mindset. I declared 6:00 am – 7:00 am my hour of power and declared NO negative thoughts allowed. I have done this for the past 60 days and my mindset is unrecognizable from where I was in 2021. My hour of power has grown and grown over the past 2 months and now encompasses most of my day. These past 60 days have brought richness to my life and I have been a magnet to countless emotional and spiritual gifts.

I understand desperation and the feeling of despair.