Worship. Singer. Gay Christian. Traveler. Activist. Gamer. Foodie. Unpaid Critic. Wannabe Professional Adventurer.
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Cinnamon rolls while spending a night in. I'm doing it right 😋 #atleastiworkedouttoday #foodporn #noshame #fatteningfriday
Took my sister to a Korean restaurant for an awesome birthday lunch. Happy Birthday Sam! @mr_flints_art_emporium
Back to it. #gymselfie #maximumeffort #deadpool #dodgepool #gayselfie #gay #instagay
Day 30 of the Pride Month Challenge: I love that I focus on the big things in life. If you've been following my Pride posts this whole month, thank you for following me on this challenge. I'd encourage anyone to take the challenge themselves! I made it through (mostly) staying on track. I've never been one to get caught up in the details, which is largely why staying on a regimented social media schedule was such a struggle for me. Being the optimist that I am, I trust that most troubles work out in the end, and worrying about details is a waste of energy. I believe in striving for dreams and achieving goals that you want, not for what seems most realistic. And I think the most powerful force in the universe is love, and as long as I live whilst keeping love as the priority, I cannot go wrong. Pride Month is about embracing the optimistic future, remembering the struggles of yesterday, and celebrating love. These ideals don't end with today, rather they are an intrinsic part of how I live my life. This challenge helped remind me of everything I have to be proud of, and it's helped to remind me to love myself. I don't think I'll do the Pride Month Challenge again anytime soon (it was hard enough to come up with 30 meaningful topics this time), yet I'll always have this month to look back on. I'm gay. I'm Christian. I'm a singer. I'm competitive. I'm silly. I'm a foodie. I'm Lutheran. I'm nerdtacular. I'm all of these things and more. And I'm proud. #pridemonthchallenge #pride #pridemonth #pridemonth2017 #pride2017 #pride🌈 #lgbtpride #gay #gaychristian #faithfullylgbt #instagay #bigpicture #proud #optimist #love
Day 29 of the Pride Month Challenge: I love that I live authentically. I often dance like no one's watching. I'm a pretty terrible dancer. There's a reason I didn't film a video of my moves for all the internet to see, and that's because I didn't want to make anyone go blind. Still, my friends will attest that I dance in public despite my eye-gouging powers. Could I take dance lessons? Sure. Do I care? Not one bit. To me, that's what dancing is all about: feeling the music while being authentically myself. I shouldn't care what other's think of me when I'm not doing anything wrong. I've owned this hoodie-vest for years, and I haven't worn it in public, for fear of ridicule. I've struggled to find outfits to make it work. The thing is, I like the hoodie-vest. It's a mix of classy and casual. And I've been afraid to wear it. Thanks to this photo shoot, I've found at least one outfit that works with it, and I'm proud to show it off. If only I dressed myself like I dance.......never mind, that WOULD be terrible. #pridemonthchallenge #pridemonth #pridemonth2017 #pride🌈 #pride2017 #vest #rainbow #tie #authentic #instagay #gay
Day 28 of the Pride Month Challenge: I love my body. The purpose of this challenge is to find 30 things that I love about myself. It hasn't been easy, yet it's all too easy to come up with 100 things I hate about myself. Many of those things are physical imperfections. The LGBTQ community has a constant battle over body image. We constantly compare ourselves to others. If you don't have a six-pack, chiseled jaw, and perfect head of hair, you are made to believe that you aren't worthy of love. We let rejection in dating turn into self-hatred. We look in the mirror and only see what we hate about ourselves. I've thought all these things about myself. I know they're not true, but my self-esteem is fighting a culture of judgement, and the worst critic is myself. I love my body, but I struggle to remember this. Even though I embrace my sexuality as God's creation, I too often fail to accept my own flesh and bones. I'm taking this challenge to look at myself more positively, to find at least 30 things to be proud of and to love myself just as I am. I need to remember, as Lady Gaga puts it, that I was born this way. I love my body, but not for you people hidden behind a profile picture, nor for you people I see across the bar. I love it for me. I love my imperfections: my unsymmetrical face, my birth marks, my stomach. I love my height, my smile, and how my hair (usually) does what I want it to. I don't need your validation to love these things, only my own. This is the real challenge: to give myself the freedom to love myself and ignore my own negativity. As Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said, "I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear." #pridemonthchallenge #pridemonth #pridemonth2017 #pride #pride2017 #bodypositive #body #bodypositivity #gay #lgbt #lgbtq #lgbtpride #faithfullylgbt #instagay #loveyourself #lovemyself #bornthisway
Day 27 of the Pride Month Challenge: I'm proud of my roots. I'm the lil nug on the right. I grew up in the heart of the Midwest in a Chicago suburb with my older brother and sister. I was in one of those picturesque neighborhoods with matching houses, perfectly trimmed lawns, and moms driving their children to and from the latest soccer game or dance practice. I grew up in the shadow of Chicago, frequently visiting the city and the museums it had to offer. Only minutes away from home, and I could also drive and find myself in the middle of nowhere surrounded by cornfields. They have corn festivals every year, with the absolute best corn on the cob you've ever tasted, and each fall, I would set out to brake the record time on a local corn maze. I was spoiled by the local food: the sweet corn, the tender BBQ ribs, Portillos hot dogs, Giordanos deep dish pizza, and Italian beef sandwiches. Nothing can match it. Growing up in the Midwest taught me to be down-to-Earth, but also to never lose my optimism. It taught me to reach outside of the cookie-cutter life, and to strive for individualism. It taught me never to settle for monotony, yet to also be thankful for the little things that remind me of home. And so now I live in North Carolina, waiting for the day when Portillos finally expands eastward, and I can get my Chicago dog anytime. And I hope it's soon, cause I crave it. #pridemonthchallenge #pridemonth #pridemonth2017 #pride #home #midwest #growingup #midwestlife #chicago #chicagodog #deepdishpizza #suburbia
Day 26 of the Pride Month Challenge: I love that I'm independent. Meet Vinny the vine. He's been my pet plant for over a year now, and he's still going strong. I used to have Stu the bamboo. Stu was my first pet plant. I heard bamboo were easy to care for and I wanted some greenery in my apartment at the time. After a few months, I killed Stu. I didn't have much of a green thumb, I suppose. My life is in a different place now though. I've always been one to try to tackle problems myself. And in my time venturing into adulthood, I've gradually become more responsible, reliable, and self-sufficient. Whereas I couldn't keep even a bamboo plant alive a few years ago, now I'm caretaker to Vinny, his sister Valerie the vine, and an entire herb garden. If only Stu could see me now. RIP Stu. #pridemonthchallenge #pridemonth #pridemonth2017 #pride #plant #houseplant #independent #greenthumb #vinnythevine #RIPStu #ikilledhim #inamemyplants
Day 25 of the Pride Month Challenge: I'm proud of my career. By the time I had switched to pursuing music instead of a career in the sciences, I had already driven my parents crazy. So when I announced my intention to work in music ministry, I think they assumed I was crazy. I was fresh out of college with no financial stability, trying to enter a career that's not known for paying a whole lot. Oh, and I'm gay, and in the Christian world that adds a whole extra obstacle, and it would seem impossible to some people. I never saw it that way. When I came out as gay, I had been leading a worship band, and was removed from my position. It was over a year before I would lead in a worship service again, yet I never let this stop my career dreams. Maybe I'm an eternal optimist. I knew it was achievable, and I'm now three months into working as a music minister. I love every moment of it. I'm doing work that I'm inspired and motivated to do. They say that your dream job is what you'd be doing if you have millions of dollars, and I've found it. #pridemonthchallenge #pridemonth #pridemonth2017 #gaychristian #musicministry #churchmusic #lgbtchristian #faithfullylgbt #gay #church #musician #career #careergoals #betterlatethannever
Day 24 of the Pride Month Challenge: I'm proud of my science background. I'm not sure of the exact switch from pursuing a career in the sciences to a career in music. I probably should've questioned it when I accidentally set my lab bench on fire, but personal safety was not my biggest priority apparently. I received this stuffed bacterium when I declared my biology major. Even though I ultimately took a different direction, I'm still proud of the hard work I put into my education. And my time wasn't wasted. I gained a stronger sense of discipline and stretched the limits of my ability to understand the unknown. It wasn't easy. It was long hours and sleepless nights of memorizing chemical reactions and biological cycles, tests that I succeeded at and others I tanked, and laboratory experiences of growing bacterial colonies and caring for crustaceans. My career calling wasn't in the sciences, but my interest and fascination remains. #pridemonthchallenge #pridemonth #pridemonth2017 #pride #science #sciencenerd #biology #gaynerd #gay #betterlatethannever
Day 23 of the Pride Day Challenge: I love that I have the travel bug. There's few memories more exciting than when I've left my comfort zone and travelled. I've been to 49 states: walking through the vastness of Mammoth Cave, snorkeling with sharks at a cove off the coast of Maui, eating salsa that scalded my tongue in New Mexico, and camping atop a frigid mountaintop in Colorado. International travel has been the most impressionable on me. I almost drowned in the rip tides of Costa Rica. I had my first kiss on a hilltop in the Slovakian countryside. I've swam with stingless jellyfish and met a US ambassador in Palau. I've loved broadening my horizons by interacting with people's of different cultures and backgrounds. I've made friends across the globe, a network of people linked by mutual love and acceptance of those different from us. I never want to stop these adventures. Life can be so monotonous if we don't seek to change it up. And I will never settle for less than exciting. #pridemonthchallenge #pridemonth #pridemonth2017 #pride #travel #travelbug #jellyfish #palau #gay #underwater #travelgram
Day 22 of the Pride Month Challenge: I'm proud of overcoming depression. My struggle began in middle school. In my overly-hormonal mind, the world was constantly crashing down on me like waves of weights. Getting out of bed became a chore, and making it through each day made me relate to Atlas holding up the world. I would periodically go through cycles of this slump over the next 10 years. I let homework fall by the wayside. My grades suffered. I kept people at a distance. Coming to terms with my sexuality only heightened these effects. It's a miracle I even made it through college. I lost jobs and scholarship money because I couldn't keep it together. I didn't want it to take over my life, or God forbid, take my life. I pursued counseling, official and unofficial. I asked for help from God and from friends. I gradually started to identify the signs when depression would start to affect me, and I adopted healthy lifestyle changes to counteract it. By the time I was stepping away from college and found my footing in adulthood, it no longer had a hold on me. My struggle isn't unique. LGBTQ people, especially young people and people of color, suffer from higher rates of suicide and depression. I'm proud of overcoming my struggle, but I had it easier than many. I had a community of support and mental health resources available. There are countless legal and cultural changes that need to be made to address mental health stigmas. But I'm not ashamed of my struggles. I'm stronger for it. #pridemonthchallenge #pridemonth #pridemonth2017 #pride #mentalhealth #mentalhealthawareness #mentalillness #depression #gay #lgbt #lgbtq #faithfullylgbt #selfie #gayselfie #overcomingdepression #stronger
Day 21 of the Pride Month Challenge: I love that I'm outdoorsy. While I'm not usually the first to jump into a hiking expedition, after visiting dozens of national and state parks and snorkeling around the world, I think I make the claim that I'm outdoorsy. I'm always up for an adventure, even if it pushes me out of my comfort zone. Granted, most animals scare me, and when I began reeling in a catfish today, I realized that I hadn't thought ahead far enough as to how to handle it once I caught it. There's a point whenever I've gone skiing, when I'm at the top of the mountain. I look over the edge and realize there's no going back. I take a deep breath, push off, and let my instincts take me down the mountain. That's how I've approached the outdoors, with hesitation, but with excitement. It's the same approach that I hope to take with anything that scares me. All it takes is a deep breath and tiny push. #pridemonthchallenge #pridemonth #pridemonth2017 #pride #fishing #outdoors #outdoorsy #outdoorsman #gay #catfish #bigfish
Day 20 of the Pride Month Challenge: I'm proud to be a musician. A few weeks ago I was walking through the streets of New Orleans. Each street corner I passed resounded with the jazzy swing of a big band or the humble rhythmic tapping on a paint bucket. As I walked down Bourbon Street, I was reminded how powerful music can be. Music has the ability to reach to our souls. It's man-made, yet divine. I think that's why I've always been drawn to music. Even though I'm college-trained and work as a professional musician, I still often feel like an amateur. There's so much to learn. I only recently began venturing into songwriting and music production. And as I record songs, I can't help but think of the music that's reached to my soul: of the jazzy swing of a big band or the humble drummer playing on a paint bucket. It matters not the instrument nor the stage, just the kind of tapping that stirs the soul. #pridemonthchallenge #pridemonth #pride #pridemonth2017 #music #musicpride #singer #musician #gaymusic #records #recordingstudio #neworleans #gay #churchmusician #stirsthesoul
Day 19 of the Pride Month Challenge: I love that I'm nerdtacular. I'm not sure whether it was when I completed my National Pokedex in Pokemon Y or when I was able to recall all 151 original Pokemon from memory, that I became a Pokemon Master. I'm sure I was a Lostie through and through by the time I made my own fan page. And my super fan Survivor status was cemented in stone by the forth time I auditioned for the show. I'm not ashamed of my nerd status. Far from it. Is it odd that I willingly wrote a college paper about zombie films and their relation to war and violence in current events? Sure it is, yet I'd choose to be interesting over being ordinary any day of the week. You can keep your fantasy football. I'll play fantasy Survivor. I can school you in bar trivia, and afterwards, I'll go get the high score on Galaga. That's what being nerdtacular is all about: being unapologetically passionate about whatever you love. Well, that's enough for my Live Together, Die Alone speech. The tribe has spoken and I've already caught 'em all, so smell ya later. #pridemonthchallenge #pridemonth #pride #pridemonth2017 #nerdtacular #gaynerd #gaymer #survivor #lost #lostie #superfan #superduperfan #buff #galaga #zombie #livetogetherdiealone #thetribehasspoken #gottacatchemall #pokemon #nerd #nerdpride
Day 18 of the Pride Month Challenge: I'm proud to be my father's son. This might be one of my most vulnerable, emotional posts. It shouldn't be. My relationship with my father isn't something that has been at the forefront of my identity. In fact, it's been strained most of the time, but I've grown thankful for the guidance and presence he has had I my life. Ever since I came out, I knew the adjustment would be difficult for him. He had dreams of me having a successful science career, marrying a woman, and having 2.5 children. When I came out, all off those went down the toilet, yet my dad stood by me. He didn't know how to support me, but he tried. I'm forever thankful for his willingness to open his mind and love me unconditionally. I recognize that my journey isn't what my dad expected for me, yet his love transcends those rudimentary boundaries, and I'm so thankful to be loved in spite of this. I look forward to a hike, a bike ride, and a trip where I can continue to grow closer, to continue to be a part of his life and develop new dreams and expectations for my life. #pridemonthchallenge #pridemonth #pridemonth2017 #pride #fathersday #father #thankful #gay #gaydreams
Day 17 of the Pride Month Challenge: I'm proud to have an apartment. It took until I was 24 to fly completely away from the nest. No more parental assistance; no more roommates helping to keep afloat. I'm on my own. The most fun part of this, the interior decorating and shopping, has been counterbalanced by the reality of bills and expenses. Supporting myself isn't easy. Sometimes I work unconventional hours. Sometimes I work too many hours. Yet, I do it to earn a sense of comfort for my own standard of living. It's not perfect, but it gives me peace of mind. Still, I keep on working. #pridemonthchallenge #pridemonth #pridemonth2017 #apartment #home #homeiswheretheheartis
Day 16 of the Pride Month Challenge: I love that I'm hospitable. Unbeknownst to my parents, for most of my time in college, my door was unlocked. My room was the regular spot for video games and free sodas. I frequently came home from class to find friends deep into a Super Smash Bros marathon. And I loved it. Even today, I love having friends over for dinner, game nights, or parties. Call me a regular domestic, if you will. Just know that if you want an amazing home cooked meal and perfectly balanced mixed drink, all you have to do is knock on my door. I'm happy to have you over. #pridemonthchallenge #pridemonth #pridemonth2017 #pride #gamenight #hospitable #homeforall #gay #instagay #selfie #fridayfun
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