Bear Den

So somehow all of us in the Smythe-Moore-Garcia home have acquired bear names. We have lots of nicknames for Carlos. Somewhere along the way I started calling him “Little Bear.” He calls me Papa Bear and John is Daddy Bear (even though I’m “Daddy” in other contexts). Our Newfoundland, Elvis is Baby Bear and little Claire is Claire Bear.

Elvis (Baby Bear) and Claire (Claire Bear)

In the gay world, John and I are both considered bears (actually he’s more of a wolf or otter). Bears are guys who are on the bigger side of things, typically hairy. Bears are known for being friendly and accepting of all kinds of physical types (though I’m not sure this always holds true).

Until recently, I’ve kept in touch with the bear world via online articles, etc., or with friends who happen to be bears. And I clap really loud for them at Pride parades. As I’ve more consciously integrated myself into the gay community, I’ve tried to make more of an effort to get to know “my people.” Somehow that has carried over into our home life.

I like bears as a metaphor for family. They are strong, protective, cuddly, and the human bears are in principle friendly and accepting of differences. Who wouldn’t want their child to pick up those traits?

I’m in the process of trying to become a bit more of a muscle bear (a subcategory of bears–I know, crazy, right?). Part of that is just about being in shape, confident, attractive to John and able to wear the clothes I want. But an even bigger part has to do with Carlos.

When Carlos came to live with us, his biggest fear was that we would die suddenly. He talked about it constantly. Any time John or I got sick, he would shift into a hyper-caretaking mode that in part is his sweet personality but is also a manifestation of his hope to keep us from slipping away and leaving him alone again.

I know I don’t have enough control over the world to promise Carlos that I won’t die sooner than he’d like. We don’t really talk about that when he asks if I’m gonna die soon. I typically just laugh and tell him I plan to be around a good long time since I want to live long enough to spoil his children rotten so he can deal with the aftermath.

But the reason I’m moving into muscle bear territory is to ensure that the parts of my life that I can control (my body and environment) are giving me the best odds possible for long life. I think big bellies are hot (seriously), but with my family’s history of heart disease, they aren’t healthy for me. And frankly, there’s nothing all that sexy about being dead.

So don’t be surprised if the language of bears and gym talk starts showing up in this blog. Just consider it an extension of the food, health, and relationship parts of home.

Oh, yeah. As a bonus for you, the picture below is one I’m hoping to turn into a tattoo on my calf in honor of Carlos. It will probably just have the image of Smokey and Carlos’s initials beneath his feet. It’s a surprise for him, so, shhhhhhhh! Will be a few months before I can save up enough money for it anyway.

Smokey the Badass

1 Response to “Bear Den”

  1. September 7, 2013 at 7:48 am

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