Chapter 5: Inferiority

This is part five of my project, the Ingredients of Fear, where I peel back the onion and reveal everything that’s been beating me down and holding me back inside. Click here to learn more about The Ingredients of Fear.


Listen to this story:

A couple months ago I spent a weekend disconnecting from my otherwise turbulent life at Mavericks, California. I was at the beach by Pillar Point on a late afternoon just after it stopped raining. The clouds were clearing away, the sky was opening up, and the view to the Pacific Ocean was simply breathtaking. There were some people walking out and climbing up toward a vantage point so I followed them.

Curiosity soon turned into self-doubt when I noticed how slippery the rocks were, and that I was only wearing this cheap pair of slip-ons from Old Navy. I clumsily worked my way up, eventually to this spot where I would have to climb my way down and across a 4-foot wide pocket in order to get to where the vantage point was.

There were about five other people where I was. Some held the same initial hesitation as me, but all of them tried their way and eventually made it across. Meanwhile I just stood there for the longest time, because I was scared and more importantly frustrated at how useless I felt, unable to do something literally everyone else around me managed to do.

Then this guy showed up. He couldn’t have been much older than 25. He was wearing this preppy navy sweater and a nice pair of shorts, not unlike a model you’d find in a J.Crew catalog. He looked down toward the pocket for a second and just jumped from my side to the other. He just… did it.

Continue reading “Chapter 5: Inferiority”

100w100d: Best Part of Being Gay

Confessions on the Dance Floor

Day 4: How can you summarize being gay in 100 words, let alone explain the best part of it?

I can’t force anybody to believe that homosexuality isn’t a choice, though ironically the best part of it — this freedom to love yourself — is adaptable by anyone regardless of sexuality.

By coming out, we’ve accepted and embraced who we love, but we’re also liberated from any bullshit gender roles Society has arbitrarily place on everybody else. Who says pink is for girls? Who says gays can’t be bros? We don’t give a shit. Because what are you going to do, call us gay?

The Value of Self

I was raised to be humble. As a kid, I’ve been taught to put yourself in others’ shoes and consider others before yourself. I was taught to always help others, even if it means going a bit out of your way.

This idea has shaped me into the person I am today, and for the most part I’m happy and proud to be this person — someone who genuinely cares about the world; someone who understands the importance of giving unconditionally.

The thing with that is, over the course of the past thirty years I’ve somehow managed to gradually lose myself. Not so much in that I’ve lost sense of who I am as a person, but rather how I can rightfully fit in to this world.

If everyone else should come before me, when is it my turn to step up to the plate? Just how much is my life worth when I consistently put everyone around me at a (much) higher priority than my own?

In ways, I am in dire need to (re)construct the value of myself.

In the beginning of year, I mentioned in a blog post that part of my new year resolution was to Be Okay. It’s halfway through the year and truthfully, I still very much struggle with that.

I struggle with how I can offer my all while potentially having to hold myself back. I struggle with how I can stay humble without letting my self-esteem take a dive. And I struggle to unlearn the past thirty years of unhealthy habits, so one day I can be as genuine to myself as I already am with others.

So I have a bit under six months to reverse this trend to accomplish my goal, and here’s what I’m thinking:

Be the duck, not the rabbitI’m going to be more optimistic. Beyond confidence and self-esteem, though they’re very much related, I will actively work to put my focus on the silver lining, to sit on the greener side of the lawn, and to be the duck and not the rabbit. (A reference from How I Met Your Mother.)

And to ensure this is going to happen, there are specific goals set for myself as well as anchors from those around me to call me out and cheer me on. In discussing with my colleague today, she summarized her feedback for me brilliantly:

“Don’t expect the worst. Instead, expect the best and prepare for the worst.”

This is precisely the problem. So together we came with concrete plans to help me reach the next level. No, fuck that, reach the next world. Turning thirty this year, I no longer have the luxury to reach 1-2 when I should be gunning for 2-1. (And clearly that’s a Super Mario Bros. reference.)

The value of self should include the positive as much as the negative, strength just as well as weakness. And with this I unveil my new motto:

My New Motto

❤ wins


Winson Shuen works at IGN but is not an editor. All opinions expressed here are solely his own and do not represent his employer by any means. You can follow him on Twitter @vdot90.