Monday, May 16, 2011

How is Terrence Chappell healthy? [part of a series]

[lifelube wants to hear from gay/bi men and allies about the ways in which you are healthy - and yes, that includes you... and yes, you must be doing something right if you are on this planet. hundreds have shared their stories, when will we read yours?]

I surround myself around good friends, a supportive family, interesting projects, and lots of puppies.

The old adage that proclaims, “If you have your health, you have everything” though elicits hints of truth to ears that it falls on, can still be a bit overwhelming considering that health and being healthy means a lot of different things to a lot of different people.

There’s physical health, mental health, or emotional health – all of which can unravel in our lives simultaneously or at the same time.

Personally, my happiness is connected to maintaining a healthy lifestyle of family, friends, relationships, career, and honestly just doing what makes me happy.

I was a bubble kid. I had asthma. I was allergic to everything under the sun including puppies (which I love) and some random ingredient found in most candies that I still can’t pronounce nor spell to this day. My doctor and my family were on a first name basis and were often invited to holiday dinners. Not to mention, I had to carry a breathing machine to school – especially on gym days.

Now, as an adult, I grew out of my asthma, thank God – toting a breathing machine down Halsted Street or any street for that matter wouldn’t be a cute look. Most of my allergies have gone away, and I now only see my doctor for regular checkups.

I maintain my physical health, which includes my sexual health as well, out of respect for my past and my family who worked so hard to keep me healthy. Of course practicing safe sex and regular screenings goes without saying, but I also aim to engage in sexual relations only when I’m in an exclusive relationship. Although everyone has a different personal lifestyle set-up, grooming healthy sexual habits is not only important but illustrates a sign of respect for your body, your partner’s body, and those that you participate in sexual relations with. Plus, it saves you all the sweat and nerve-wrecking thinking as you wait for your results in the waiting room.

My mental and emotional health arrived as I came to know myself better and more. In my earlier twenties, my confidence and self-esteem were very much dependent on what people thought of me. Whether it was a guy who wanted to date me, an internship that I scored for the summer, or even something as trivial as a stranger’s compliment – if the end result was positive, then in my mind that meant I was valuable and meant something.

As I grew older, I learned that this way of thinking is both dangerous and highly unstable. Now, I have developed and maintained a confidence that is independent of anything that can be taken away from me, which includes my career, my appearance, my possessions, and all other things of the secular world.

For me, happiness is a part of my health. So, I surround myself around good friends, a supportive family, interesting projects, and lots of puppies.

-- Terrence Chappell

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