Daniel Ulibarri

About Showing Up… Or Maybe Not

 

I don’t show up because I’m a drug addict.

 

I don’t show up because I’m an insatiable sex fiend, nor do I show up because I’m a self serving narcissist with Peter Pan syndrome.

 

I began showing up at about 18, venturing into spaces which back in that day were nothing more than a whispered about taboo.

 

“Queer” spaces and all that the term encompasses were not even a concept on my radar back then.

 

A little later, after graduating from a US university and briefly exposing myself to the clinical, ascetic version of my sexuality that West Hollywood was able to provide,

 

I began to venture into the more authentic spaces of Spain, skulking nervously under the arches looking like a backup singer from a second rate boyband.

 

At this time I had no idea who I was or how to go about expressing myself, but at least I was cute and I quickly learned how to take my pants off on command.

 

For a while at least, this afforded me some sense of identity and security behind which I could hide and hopefully buy myself some more time.

 

America remains a suspicious nation.

 

But I still showed up, although these days I don’t promise much.

 

My look will not always be on point, my energy levels are not quite where they used to be.

 

But I have a space here.

 

It belongs to me and no one else. It is mine to carve out and mine to fight for.

 

I am often approached by those at an earlier stage of their journey.

 

They fear they do not possess the correct body fat percentage, muscle mass, self confidence, fabulousness or social circle to carve out a space for themselves.

 

During these moments I often wonder if I am part of the problem but Lord knows I can only do my best.

 

All I can offer is the assurance that, like me, a space exists for them also.

 

But it will take guts to step into.

 

So why not give it a try?

 

Don’t know how to stand, how to move, how to be?

 

Welcome to the club.

 

 

Listen to the music, move your body a little and that feeling will go away.

 

Feel awkward?

 

Sit in it a while, make friends with it and resist the temptation to give your ass up to the first person who talks to you.

 

Think everyone else is better looking, sexier, more experienced?

 

Don’t worry, those who you perceive to be more visible than you, for whatever reason, have just been doing this a little longer.

 

Do not envy visibility for it comes with its own host of challenges which you may likely have to deal with one day, so be grateful for this incubation period.

 

And if anyone shows anything other than utter and complete gratitude that you had the courage and wherewithal to get your body there?

 

Well, they just don’t get it yet.

 

Give them time, wish them well, they’ll learn.

 

And if you see me in the corner, come and say hi.

 

Approach me as a suit of armor, be that your attitude or your abs, I will not be interested.

 

Approach me as you are and you’ll find I’ll be delighted to hear about you.

 

I don’t care what body you’re in, be it male, female or somewhere in between.

 

I don’t care about the size of your dick or the size of your bank account.

 

I am here, on my journey, just like you.

 

We are in this together and one day, I want to delight in seeing your fully actualized self, no matter what that might look like.

 

Just tell me that you’ll be brave, tell me that you’ll do your best and I promise I’ll try to do the same.

 

I can’t reassure you.

 

I can’t tell you that you won’t experience pain but take it from me, It will be worth it.

 

And who knows?

 

if you’re real nice, I might just let you play with me a little. Woof!

 

 

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