“Would You Accept A Gay Man Into A Woman’s Group!?!” Brief Summary of Show:
Did you feel lonely this last year? Covid has definitely been taxing on our collective mental status, having to isolate, and having limited human contact. In this Inspired Action For Imperfect Humans podcast episode Christopher and Kyle Kalloo discuss loneliness during Covid, how it has affected them, how it’s important to reach out to your communities, even when we can only do it in a limited capacity.
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Christopher Lawrence LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/career-life-coach-christopher-lawrence/
Kyle Kalloo LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kyle-kalloo/
Change My Life Coaching & Strategic Leader LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/6446498/admin/
“Would You Accept A Gay Man Into A Woman’s Group!?!” Transcript:
I can say as an entrepreneur, I think it is a lonely path because we don’t… like we have a great team here and we will rally for that team. But I think that’s our role as leaders.
[Announcer] Is the thought of being imperfect, keeping you from taking action? Welcome to “Inspired Action For Imperfect Humans.” Each week, we give you real life stories and thought provoking research that inspires your soul to live a more fulfilled life through your own actions. From the heart of Calgary, Canada, here are your hosts, award winning coaches, Christopher Lawrence and Kyle Kalloo.
Hello? Hello? Hello? Hello? Do I start these the same way every time?
Yeah, you do. And I was getting my lips on.
Your getting your lips. You were moistening your lips in preparation for this podcast?
What are we?
Kyle, how are you feeling today?
Oh my God. Don’t ask me that question please. Don’t ask me that question.
There’s too much going on right now. There’s too much. I’m getting ready to do some traveling again. So I’m a little bit nervous about that whole airport situation. I have some family drama, I have some technology stuff in our office that I’m sorting out. So there’s just way too much. And I just got my second vaccine, so like there’s a lot going on.
I appreciate that. And lot going on. So, how do people deal with all of this? Like how do people deal with all of life stuff? Like, I don’t know. I don’t know how I deal with it sometimes. So, yeah. So don’t ask me that question. In other news, what’s happening?
Well, you know, I think your question might inherently be what we’re gonna talk about today, because I think the way that we deal with it, in all honesty, it’s certainly there’s that self-check. But there’s also this thing called community. And so I was kind of thinking maybe we could talk about community.
And maybe we could-
Community like, as in your friends or connections or-
Yeah, totally. I think that’s part of it. So, I don’t know about you, like certainly I think people have felt lonely in the last year, I think. Although some people are like, I have a number of clients who it’s like, they’re more scared that things are opening up. Not because of COVID, that part they’re very confident about, it seems it’s more kind of the agoraphobic, like I’m gonna have to now be around people. Pispos is one of those people. Like he is perfectly happy kind of being on his own, it’s interesting. I’m gonna share a little bit of personal story. Can I do that?
Yeah, let’s do it.
I’m curious, like, did you feel lonely this last year? Kyle, did you?
Yeah, I think the quick answer is yes, I had moments of it and I think we talked to him on podcasts around, protecting time and I wanted my lone time. However, there were moments where I’m just like, I think I had too much alone time. Like I just felt replenished on certain things, but I feed off different energy from different people and just having that conversation, even just simply going out and having a chat or walk. So there were moments where I felt like I could I have energy to go do that, but then I couldn’t. And that’s when I felt lonely. In that moment where I realized I actually couldn’t go and connect any of it. That’s the moment for me. And sometimes when I’m watching, oh God, I can’t believe I’m gonna admit this. Sometimes when I’m watching some sappy shows that I really shouldn’t be watching, and they talk about relationships and friendships, not even only about love relationship, but just friendships where you’re just like, damn I don’t have that. And so I just have those moments. I think I’ve texted you a couple of times where I’m like, I need to stop watching these types of shows. So, I think, yeah, the quick answer is yes, I have. I usually have moments that pass really quickly. However, I found in the last year a bit it’s longer, it seems, because then, you know I love to travel, every weekend or every other week I would go to a city, get my mind, rejuvenate myself, and experience people while I’m there. Just watching people, connecting with people what have you, but I couldn’t do that either. So how about you?
Yeah, it’s interesting because it’s like I’m surrounded by people all day. Like I get a lot of one-on-one time with clients. Sometimes I get group time a couple of times a week. And I do think that my clients are a community for me, in a way. I think when we look at community, there’s kind of like there’s different circles. This has been done and repeated over and over again. You kind of have yourself and then you have your inner circle. This would be like your tightest group. And especially as you age, you start to see how this narrows a bit. You hear your parents talk about it and you’re in your twenties or your teens and you hear them talk about how that narrows the narrows and you don’t believe it’s gonna happen because you think every single one of these 20 friends that you hang out with as like your best friend, but then it does narrow, right? It does narrow. And I thought me being so extroverted that it’s like there’s no way. But here I find myself. So, you have that inner circle, then you have kind of that second level community. So to me, that second level of community, and we mentioned this in another podcast, but that second circle community is like just kind of a half a step out. So this might be like, it could be a church group, it could be a community association, but it’s a place where you have that kind of group, that group support, it could be a mastermind, it could be whatever it is. And these will kind of come and go, depending on what your participation looks like and that kind of thing. And so that second circle community can be a really important community and having like diverse human experiences, connecting with others, not feeling alone, support groups are a lot of this kind of stuff. I think people get it when they are in college together, you would have that second circle community. You might even have it in a workplace. A second circle community.
And I even think that’s where I probably, just listening to the news and just reading different articles, where I think some of our kids were experiencing that. From the high school or university or those ’cause they don’t get a chance to build that, ’cause they have a certain group of people they hang out with. I know, even though in those moments, they think they’re gonna be everything in anything in those moments. But I could see, being a part of the hockey team, being a part of playing basketball, being a part, ’cause you go on away games, you do games together, you hanging out with each other, sometimes you’ll go to each other’s places and stuff like that. And when do we grow out of that? Like when does that… I find it just narrowed. As we get older, that 20 becomes 10, then becomes 15, then becomes five and then it becomes two.
It’s interesting, ’cause I think you nailed it. Like, I think it comes organically, through like, sports groups or writers groups or whatever. Strangely I do think that people who play sports there does tend to be more of a sisterhood or brotherhood than you might get from say like a writing group or for something like this. But it’s interesting ’cause as we talk about this, I was thinking about loneliness and it’s interesting. Like I have my inner circle is very tight. So I’ve got kind of four people that fall into that. That it’s just like they’re always there. I can tell them anything. There’s no judgment. And I do, I tell them anything and everything. But I was thinking about that second circle community. And one of the things that COVID exposed for me, although we were so busy trying to pivot in the business that it didn’t actually show up until probably like January, February, March. I started to think about this and I’m like, I don’t have a second circle community. Like I don’t have that kind of community support where it’s like if somebody was in trouble, there would be a contribution, a rallying, that kind of thing. And of course those things come. You can’t force it to happen. There has to be a bit of an organic kind of approach to it, I think. But I was thinking about that. I was thinking about the second circle community and what that means and you know, what it means for me. And so I think it’s interesting. ‘Cause I think when you expose these gaps, then the focus is on the gap. The focus is on what’s missing. And so it’s been an interesting journey, because I was kind of looking at this for my own self and then kind of looking at the greater world. And so, there is research on this. Like in the 1930s, ’40s, ’50s, ’60s, and even the ’70s, over two thirds of North American population was part of some club or association or whatever. And you think about it actually, it’s I was going through my grandma’s yearbooks. This is the strangest thing. So my mom moved to the small city that my grandmother went to high school in. And so her mother went to high school. And she was at an antique sale and they were selling off old, just stapled archives of yearbooks.
And so mum actually found two, from the year that my grandmother was in the Lloydminster High School. So I was flipping through those and looking at everything and it was amazing to me. Like my grandma was in, I don’t know, four or five different clubs. Like she went to, I think, nationals for basketball. She was part of the Glee club. She was in the choir, like there Glee club, I think had, I was curious, I counted, I think it had 42 students in it. Think about that for a second, Kyle. Bigger than a football team.
Yeah, wow. Yeah, interesting.
So we used to be in more clubs and associations and stuff like this and now, and I think a lot of this has to do with the internet. Maybe not, I don’t know. Like it’s so easy to blame.
Yeah, I’m actually curious about are people in? Do people have communities? Are people in groups right now? ‘Cause I know with the Regimens club, the Glencoe club, they both been there since 1812 and been there this whole time.
I know but you know my problem, I’m just gonna go here for a second, Regimens and Glencoe and Glenora and Edmonton, it is elitist. Like it is not accessible to most people.
Like it is financially not accessible to most people. You don’t have colored people in it. It’s led by nuclear families. So moms and dads who are married with kids and they’re all involved in sports, like it’s a, and I’m not bashing this, I’m just saying it, you mentioned that example and I’m like, that’s great for them. But where is the rest of it? I look at it when I have clients who are POC, so persons of color, I find that they actually have a stronger sense of community than white North Americans do. They’re way more involved with family.
Because of the extended family. Yeah. The extended family and the connections of those family. And I think that’s what I miss being up here.
Last night there was a concern in your extended family, but in your case, there is a second circle family. There is a rallying of support, although in the family that you have in North America, there’s less of that than there is in Jamaica. There’s more, second circle, family support in Jamaica than there is here.
And we also have a built culturally as well, based on your status in that family, you have responsibilities to that group. And like it or not, it just keeps you sometimes connected. But you raise a really good point, around, well, what else is there in North America? I mean like, is there groups people in?
I think there’s tons of stuff. But the funny thing is that I think certainly in Calgary, I think Calgary is very insulated. Our former bookkeeper said it best, he said Calgary is a city of small villages, and he’s right. But I think that the villages are often hidden. Like I don’t think that they’re easy to find. I’ve been looking on Google meetup, I’ve been searching for specific things. And it’s actually amazing how difficult it is to find active social groups. And some of them that do exist, the level of contribution and commitment is so high that I think sometimes it gets in the way of a commitment. So, I’ve been thinking about this and wondering if there’s other people who are curious about where they fit in that second circle. I’m curious about where I fit in a second circle.
I was just gonna say, I’m curious, what would be your ideal community? Like, if you could think about it, just put you on the spot for a second and just say what would that be?
I ‘ll put a call up there, maybe somebody will reach out. So it’s really interesting. So, I can say as an entrepreneur, I think it is a lonely path. Because we don’t, like we have a great team here and we will rally for that team, but I think that’s our role as leaders. And I think they would rally for us, but it doesn’t feel like appropriate in a way. Our job is to lead this and people need to that there are leaders. So I look at that. So I think about that, but I’ll tell you, ’cause I’ve done a lot of thinking about this, I do go to a church, at least at the time that we recorded this podcast, I’ve pulled back a bit. It’s interesting. Like it’s, their history is Christian. There are great places called Friends Church. They’re in Calgary, they’re online. I do think everybody should check it out. Especially if you’ve struggled with your own spiritual or church journey, because it’s not overly religious. It’s not Bible thumping. It’s not like, God this, God that, it’s not about sin. It’s not about any of that stuff. It is just, you know, think of it kind of like a research-based Ted talk with a bit of a flare of kind of like, what is your spiritual experience? I asked one of the pastors, “What happens when you die?” He says, “I don’t know.” So, he’s like, so you better make the best of the moments you have now. And I just thought, this is the place for me. So, it’s interesting.
I feel that he has to make something up too, right? That’s sometimes what happens, is I got to get you this certainty.
They don’t have a strong kind of, so that would be third circle. Like gonna a church is third circle, but any groups that they have in there that you might be a part of, would be second circle. So just like being part of… We all cheer for the Calgary flames. Well, that might be more like fourth circle stuff. But in any case, the big thing here, I think is for me, when I look at it, I’ve done a lot of …. ‘Cause they’ve got men’s groups in this church, which is really interesting to me. They used to have women’s groups, but the two people that were running them, the onslaught of stuff happened during COVID. So, but I look at it and I’m like, I don’t fit in a men’s group. Like it doesn’t-
Why? Why do you say that? Because I don’t get it. Like I don’t get the alpha male thing. I don’t get heterosexual marriage issues. I don’t get sports analogies at all. I don’t struggle with like stoicism. Those are not my concerns.
And I think any man’s group, that’s all about those things are surface levels. ‘Cause I remember-
Well, I think they go deeper, but I think it’s the going deeper that I don’t relate to. when I hear like kind of rumblings of where they go with it. I’m gonna ask you a question before you.
I want a woman’s group. I think I fit better. I want a heart centered woman’s group to be a part.
Well, honestly I grew up with women. Like my mom and I were tight, tight, tight. All of my friends from elementary school through to the end of high school were girls. I did have some male friends, but not many. Like they were not close friends. All my besties were always women. I went to college, there was 109 women and me in the program. And then it wasn’t until my late 20s I think, that I really had some deep male friendships.
Okay, so what is a woman’s group?
My deepest male friendships are all gay men. And so I think a women’s group offers something that I understand more, which is connection to head and heart. It’s easier to open up, be vulnerable. I think that they tend to be more verbal. So the women I’m stereotyping here, but they tend to talk more. And that’s how I process, is by talking. I don’t process by like silence, stoic thinking. Which doesn’t mean I don’t meditate in silence or whatever. I do those things every day. But I think I would get more out of a woman’s group than I would get out of a men’s group. The issue is that women need a safe place to be women without the presence of men.
Why can’t men do exactly that? Be head and heart, vulnerability?
I think that they can. I just think that as a gay man fitting into a men’s group that is predominantly white male heterosexuals, I don’t get it. I know what I could bring to them, but I’m not sure what I can get out of it. Do you see what I’m saying? Like I know what I could bring to them. I have white heterosexual males that sit in this chair with me every week. And Kyle, they’re the first ones that cry in my office. And I think the reason is Kyle, they don’t have that other place. Like, I’m not a female, so there’s no machismo. I’m a non-competitive gay male. Non competitive. In the traditional male sense. But I’ll tell you in for playing monopoly. But I’m noncompetitive in that sense. And so I think when they come in here, it usually takes them a session or two, to kind of really guess, like, it’s like, okay, okay, this is what we’re gonna do. And usually they’re the first ones to cry. Because there’s nothing that they have to hold. Like they don’t have to hold that space in this office.
I know I read an article many months ago where it talks about how we’re raising young men. And it was speaking specifically about heterosexual men because we don’t teach them these things. Vulnerability of showing their emotions. It’s like they fall off a bike. It’s like, “Come on, get back up. Don’t cry. Don’t be a sissy. Don’t be a girl. Wipe yourself off, get back.” And a girl falls it’s like, “Oh, honey, you cute princess.”
Big boys don’t cry. All of that bullshit.
So there’s all this stuff but I think they need to have-
Or we’re told, dunno if you had this, I had this, my dad was really, really big on this. “I’ll give you something to cry about.”
Well, that’s every Caribbean and Western Indian.
But I’m crying already. I don’t need another reason. I’m crying already.
That is another situation that we should talk about, heritage and background on our kids. That’s another story. But I think what’s happening is we were doing that. And the reason why I say that, ’cause I remember saying that to a client. I said, ’cause he has a lot of guy friends and I said, what are their fears? What do they, what are they vulnerable about? What do they struggle at night with? What are they? And he’s like, I know these guys for over 20 years and I could not answer one question you just asked me. I said, what are you guys talking about? And he listed the things that you said already. Our jobs, or sports, who’s doing that? Accomplishments.
Yeah, which is great because men need that safe place to work on that stuff. It’s just not for me.
But it’s the other stuff. So I said to him, I want you to start asking those questions. I want you to ask them, what are you most fearful about? What is in your pieces are a vulnerability? What is it about that? Tell me something that most people don’t know about you. And you know, what’s interesting when he came back, he said, wow, what an experience? One, there were just very like, “What’s happening to you? What’s going on? What is this about?” And he says, after a bit, a few moments, they really start to open up. And here’s the thing that he said most of them said, “I never told anyone that before.”
Exactly. Exactly. And this is what, ’cause I do this with men in my office, I do and I get that same phrase. And so this is why I know what I could bring to a men’s group. Because it’s like, if it’s led, like a woman could do just as good of a job, facilitating a men’s group as I could and maybe even better. But I think that the differences is that I bring that balance of feminine energy into the room, but not being a man. I just don’t understand the men’s issues. And not in the way, like in a group setting, meaning, I feel like I don’t relate. Now, to be fair, I’ve never been in a men’s group. But I think for me to go given my history as being part of the gay community, not being invited into kind of that inner male circle without being literally body checked into lockers, what I was part of other stuff in my history, I was asked to leave because of my sexuality. I would actually have to be invited in ’cause I would never just show up. There are gay men’s groups, but often they ended up being support groups, which isn’t necessarily what I’m looking for. But it’s interesting because you look at the dynamic and I’m stereotyping here, but a lot of the gay men’s groups, they’re filled with singles looking for sexual connection or relationship connection, even though the group might say this isn’t why you’re here. But there is kind of the undertones of sexual tension. That is a part of it. So it is interesting. It’ll be an interesting journey for me to go on. I think that place to start as we’re talking to our listeners here, the place to start here is to start to look at what your interests are. I think that’s a good starting place. The other thing I would ask our folks to do, is ask yourself, what do you need? Because I think when we start asking ourselves, what do we need? You start to get a little bit clearer about the messaging.
Yeah and I would say the imperfect inspired action for us to be thinking about, is exactly that. What is it that you need? What have you done and what you wanna do more of, is another thing. And I would say, if you are part of a man’s group and you’d like to invite us in, reach out to us. If you’re also part of a woman’s group and you don’t mind having guy there.
And you want a gay guy in there.
Invite us. We’re actually curious, because the thought I had, and I think I know how you’re gonna feel about this. And maybe we should just end on this note. The thought I had is that I know you would do such a great job with a man’s group based on what you just said, however, you’re gonna be the one running it. You’re gonna be the one creating it. And that’s not what you want.
Yeah, for me circles community needs to be something I can contribute to you.
It’s something I can contribute to, but I don’t necessarily wanna create. Anyway, super curious to see folks there’s your “Inspired Action.” We’d love to hear from you about the communities you have. Also folks we’d love some feedback, which of our podcasts are resonating with you, which ones aren’t? Let us know.
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I ask one question and then it’s like all of a sudden, it’s just like the entire bag of shit pulls out of his mouth and it’s like, oh, there it goes.
It’s not true.