Out+About: A resolution for 2018

I resolve to be positive this year. I usually have a smile on my face. I love to smile. But more often than I would like, a snide comment, an insinuation, or worse, ruins my smile. Sadly, the news continues to bear witness to a political reality that is at odds with my core values. It makes me feel as if all the political action I take doesn’t matter. Then, I take a deep breath and really see how far we, as a nation and community, have come. I realize if I can change my perspective, I can continue to make a positive impact on my community.

In the LGBTQ community, there seems to be a reverence for wit. That I get. However, it often translates into verbal exchanges that leave no one happy. As an example, there is a TV show that has drag contestants on it, which uses wit as a form of humor. I can’t watch it because of the incredibly mean attacks. Some call it fierce, but I call it mean. I used to think that if I only focused on the positive, then I would end up being Pollyannaish. When I was coming of age, this acerbic wit was a way to defend and also show off my own prowess. A few — surly, mostly — drag queens have shown me that this is not a healthy choice. I think it is a coping mechanism for the downtrodden. It is a coping mechanism that will only take you so far. I am ready for the next level.

Over the last few years, my exterior has undergone a transformation. I’ve lost more than 60 pounds in the last two years. People consistently ask how I did it. The real answer is complicated, since there was no surgery or dramatic measures. I have cut back the number of after-work events, and, over time, I have adjusted what I eat. In addition, over the last year, I have slowly ramped up my exercise routine. However, the biggest shift is the hardest to describe. I experienced a mental shift.

At first, it was a self-evaluation of why I ate when I ate. Then, when I understood the why, I slowly began to experiment with what I could and could not change. I realized there were issues from childhood but also issues around not being perceived as sickly. Over this next year, I am moving from improving what I take in to improving what I put out. I want to be a positive force in our community, not a negative one.

My wish for our community is a shift towards positive psychology. The LGBTQ community is often the first maligned, so I know it is difficult, but I also know that focusing excessively on the negative only brings you into a darker place. We must all acknowledge what is happening and take action to right a wrong, but when we focus on the positive, we are all better for it. My resolution to be more positive extends to our community.

How can we help others be more positive? Write in and let me know! John@johnart.com.

John Trobaugh

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