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Speaking from the ‘I’: Robert Ramcharan

My Story‘ is an ongoing series featuring previous participants of The Quest Workshop.

Robert Ramcharan attended The Quest Workshop in January 2012…..

What brought you to The Quest Workshop?

After coming out as gay in my 40’s, I increasingly became a big believer that I personally needed to continually examine and develop myself and not stand still or fear change. I began to believe that I needed to think about my actions and reactions in the light of a wide range of developmental guides, regarding human thought processes.

I had come from what would I call ‘a life for others’, rather than myself, where I was married to a woman for nearly 20 years, with no male sexual encounters or gay experiences, up until the age of 40. I had 2 kids with my wife, which meant a lot of responsibility. I had been bought up with quite a bit of Roman Catholic guilt, as well as coming from an Asian West Indian background, involving expectations of what a “normal” life should be.

When I inevitably came out (I really had no choice in the matter, not because the situation was out of my control, but because not living my true self was impossibility). I went very wild, but eventually discovered that even this behaviour was not me either.

I had recently done a course which encouraged me to get involved in a community project. I had read “The Velvet Rage” by Alan Downs regarding the fact that shame was a significant (hidden) driver behind many gay men’s behaviour; I was very keen on getting involved in any project that bought Alan to the UK to speak to gay men. After some private research and advice from friends who had heard of Darren and Ade and their work, I met them in a West End restaurant. We talked a lot and I found them passionate and engaging. I was encouraged to first try the course and perhaps possibilities would develop from there, given my personal belief, I had no hesitation in agreeing.

What was your experience of The Quest Workshop?

RobNeedless to say the experience was wonderful both in its content, and in terms of the others that did the course. I am confident many will remain lifelong friends. I discovered everyone had stories and issues, and even though I thought I was pretty self actualised; in fact I was just as messed up as the other man.

There was a sense of deep sharing of what mattered and camaraderie. Our games were challenged and sadly it was too much for some who dropped out, however for the vast majority that stayed the distance, it was intensely enlightening. I have since done many other courses with Darren and Ade.

Was it what you expected? Tell us how

No, it was better than expected. I didn’t expect to meet a wonderful set of friends. I didn’t expect to be as challenged as I was. I didn’t expect to create a whole load of new possibilities just by attending this workshop. I didn’t expect that I would be dating and in a stable relationship by embracing who I was and letting go of who I thought I was and my past. I didn’t expect to be acting in front of a large audience and telling my story, and I didn’t expect to dramatically change the destructive path I was heading down.

What did you get from the workshop?

I guess I got onto a really positive and fulfilling journey. I am now writing a book with a friend I met on The Quest; I got to tell my story to a public audience; I got to laugh and cry with others; I learned to strip away dross and to keep the gold; I learnt that the gay life was more than clubs and sex; I learnt that others were similar to me; I learnt the healthiness of honesty; I learnt that being fabulous doesn’t always bring me the happiness I thought it would; I learnt that I’m ok and there is nothing wrong with me; I learnt to love and accept myself exactly as I was.

What difference has the workshop made to your life now?

A massive amount of difference. I might still be living a lonely life down at the 2 Brewers had I not been brave enough to do something like The Quest. I still value Darren and Ade’s input and challenge and even though I don’t always agree with some of the advice (they are ok with that – The Quest is not a cult!), the difference that it has made in my life and relationships with my friends, family, new partner and even myself cannot be under estimated.

I have learnt strategies of communication, taking hold of the “I” and my responsibility in the actions and conversations I have. I would not hesitate in advising you all to do The Quest.

To find out more about The Quest Workshop or to register, click here.

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