As a I look back on my journey towards embracing my sexuality, I have just concluded I did it all backwards. And I want a do over! :bang: Don't get me wrong, as some of you have followed my journey over the years it is clear that I have embraced my sexuality, built confidence and self esteem, while I diminished the shame and internalized homophobia (in that order). But it took me almost 20 years of marriage to find the courage to finally embrace my sexuality and then another handful of years to focus on diminishing the shame and internalized homophobia. And the order in which I found myself and embraced my sexuality, as I look back, was completely backwards! Instead of taking half a lifetime to embrace my sexuality, and then deal with the shame and internalized homophobia, shouldn't I have first dealt with the shame and internalized homophobia which might have allowed me to embrace my sexuality much earlier in life? As I have been pondering that question, as I have been engaging with all of my friends on EC, as I have read stories, books, and periodicals, as I engaged with counseling, I can only concluded the answer to the above question as being yes! I did it backwards and I should have first focused on the shame and internalized homophobia. There is no guide book on how to embrace ones sexuality in a homophobic world. Even in therapy, we still work through our emotions based on our own individual path, where the therapist is just a tool - a means to an end. Where is are the guidelines on how to do this efficiently? There are none. Now, do not get me wrong, at this point I do not have any regrets for my given path, it was what it was and I have gotten to a great point in life! However, as a I continue to read about and engage with others on their respective journeys, it is clear to me that a more efficient path exists, if we choose to recognize it. And the path that helps us to embrace whom we our requires that we deal with the shame and internalized homophobia. So going forward, my advice is and will be, first deal with the shame and deal with the internalized homophobia, with that build confidence and build self esteem, thereby embracing our true selves and our sexuality - in that order!