Tuesday, July 13, 2010

No Stranger to Shame


Well, I never meant to vanish for a month, and yet I did.

So much has happened, I barely know how to begin.  I talked to Ashley, and she was quite understanding.  Actually, she was more than understanding.  She encouraged me to do whatever would make me happy, even if that meant finding a boyfriend.

Fast forward to last week.  I went to a play in another town where, strangely enough, I found a fellow MoHo.  This wasn't just any guy--this was someone I'd been crazy about for a good six months, but due to his living in another city nothing ever came of it.

After the play, I needed to drive to my parents' for a funeral the next day.  The show got done late, so this guy (who I'll call P) said I could crash at his apartment that night and drive home the next day.  Dumbly, I said yes.

I don't need to go into specifics, but suffice it to say we fooled around that night.  I had to leave at 6:00 the next morning to make it to the funeral on time, and as I was driving I couldn't get over two major feelings I was experiencing--first, of course I felt ashamed for what I did.  Guilt and embarrassment beat me upside the head the whole drive home.  More unexpectedly, I realized that I hadn't enjoyed the encounter the night before on any level.  A guy that I was wildly attracted to was willing to do just about anything and I didn't go through with it not because I felt it was wrong, but because I simply lost interest.

I got back to my apartment late Wednesday night.  Thursday morning, I get a phone call from my bishop.  Not unusual, since I'm the executive secretary in my ward, he usually calls me a couple of times during the week.  What was weird was that he wanted to meet with me that very morning, as soon as I was able.

I was convinced he'd received some revelation about what I'd done and that I'd need to own up to it sooner than I'd anticipated.  (He's an institute teacher, so I visited him in his office there.)  He instead told me about an expert that had visited and held some sort of roundtable discussion with various Church Educational System employees regarding same-sex attraction.  And after discussing a few of the topics they'd talked about, my bishop started to commend me for how I was handling this challenge.  

I could write a lot more about the discussion we had, but let me just say that I felt so motivated to try and fight this challenge rather than give into it, as I'd been wanting to do for a few weeks prior.  I felt that was was indeed mindful of me and was aware of what I'd been experiencing.  And most of all, I felt like I had the strength to stand against it, which is something I hadn't felt in a very long time.

I went to the Matis fireside on Sunday where I met some amazing people.  Things are turning around for me, and I'm really happy about it.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

What About Now?

Hey everybody, I saw this and just HAD to share it with you--

Incidentally, I'm both.  :-P

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Not a Day Goes By

Not a day goes by
Not a single day
But you’re somewhere a part of my life
And it looks like you’ll stay
As the days go by
I keep thinking "When does it end?
Where’s the day I’ll have started forgetting?"
But I just go on thinking and sweating
And cursing and crying
And turning and reaching
And waking and dying
And no, not a day goes by
Not a blessed day
But you’re still somehow part of my life
And you won’t go away
So there’s hell to pay
And until I die
I’ll die day after day after day
After day
After day after day after day
Til the days go by

I don't even know where to begin.  The song lyrics may be more dramatic than the situation warrants, but that song popped up on my iPod and at least some of the lyrics fit really well.

Being Memorial Day weekend, I went home and visited my parents.  My sister was there too with her husband and new baby.  I had a really great time.  While I was there I started to feel really strongly I should tell them about the struggle I've been having.  Up until now, I've made it a point to not even hint at the possibility that there might be a problem, but more recently I've started to see good things that could come of my telling them.  That guy called and we talked about some of the pro's and con's of telling my parents.  What he ultimately advised was waiting until I'd had time to really think this through and decide what my position on the matter is and if I really, truly do want them to know since it'll be undoable once it's out.  I decided he was right and kept my mouth shut.

When I got back to my apartment last night I called an old buddy of mine I'd been playing phone tag with.  Nate's been my very best friend for some time now and knows pretty much everything there is to know about me.  He's been very understanding of my "gayness" even if he absolutely does not get it.  That's alright.  I don't understand straight guys all that well.  I told him about meeting that guy and the effect it had on me.  I wasn't sure how he'd take it, since up until now I had told him (and sincerely believed) that my attraction to men was purely physical.  Instead, I told him about the spark I'd felt with this guy and what an amazing experience it had been for me.

Not surprisingly, he was very understanding.  Then it happened--he told me he'd been talking to Ashley, a girl he's (kind of) been seeing who's been a friend of mine for years.  Ashley asked him point-blank if I was gay.  And...he choked.  I don't know if he was just off his guard or what happened exactly.  He didn't say "no."  He didn't redirect the question.  Apparently he just sat there in silence, leading her to conclude "I think I have my answer."

Then she told him that a number of my friends have been theorizing about this for a while (do they not have anything better to do?) and have come to the same conclusion as her.  Awesome.  (On a side note, these are some of the first friends I made when I moved to school.  I've known all of them for a few years now.)  I thought I was doing at least a decent job with the smoke and mirrors, but apparently I don't touch women like men touch women.  According to her, I touch women like women touch women.  Still not sure what that means exactly.

Apparently my take on that painting a couple days ago (see I Should Tell You) was nothing short of prophetic.  In spite of my best efforts, the truth about me is making itself known.  And in spite of having foreseen this happening to some extent, I was absolutely not ready to hear that news.  Nate and I talked on the phone for quite a while and he helped calm me back down a bit.  I'm still upset about it though.  Ever since Nate broke it to me, I've just been sick about it.

So tonight I'm going to call Ashley and ask her to at least be discreet until I have decided for sure what I want to do with all of this. 

After that, I have no idea what I'll do.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Paper Moon

So I didn't get off work last night until almost 7:30, at which point I had 1) a project for my medieval Spanish class to finish, 2) a birthday party to go to, and 3) a farewell party to go to for a friend who's leaving to study abroad.  Instead, I blew all three off and called that guy and the two of us went and hung out at a mutual friend's house.  The Spanish project would simply have to wait.

I had it in my head that as I got to know this guy better I would eventually find something I really wouldn't like about him or that I could befriend him to the point that any attraction for him would melt away, leaving only friendship.  It's worked before.

Instead I had an incredible time.  Granted it's only our second encounter but it was an amazing experience.  I asked him some questions about himself and he about me, and as we kept talking there was this connection that I felt building between us.  I felt I could tell him anything and similarly he was quite open with me about a lot of things.  It was natural and thrilling and meaningful.

Up until now I always assumed I would marry a girl.  I've dated some girls who were simply amazing, yet past a certain point I couldn't let things proceed.  (Usually it was about the time we started holding hands, kissing, etc.)  In fact, I just got out of a relationship with a girl who I'm certain would have married me if I had asked her to.  But I didn't ask her because I didn't want to marry her because I felt nothing for her beyond pleasant, friendly feelings.

I started to wonder if that was maybe as good as things were ever going to get.  I wondered if I'd watched too many romantic movies or listened to too many love songs.  Maybe I was mistaken in believing that love would be this electrifying, mind-blowing thing.  Maybe all it would ever be was quiet and boring and a little dull.

But instead after knowing this guy for less than a week I feel that those ideas were completely mistaken because of how I feel now.  I don't know if he and I have any future at all, but I feel certain that I'll never feel this way with a girl.  Believe me I've tried.

So my big question is what do I do now?  Stay friends?  Pursue something with him?  To what extent?  (I should explain that I have no idea what his feelings are toward me.  For all I know this is completely one-sided.)  I'd ask if I should just walk away from him, but I don't know if I could actually do that when it came down to it.

Any thoughts?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I Should Tell You


This painting really resonates with me.  I feel like I'm in the same situation as the man there.  I wish I could show it here in greater detail.  But the man has been singled out by some source of light which seems to be causing destruction all around him, even setting fire to the tree that would normally have hidden him from the light.  Interestingly, the man is not harmed by the light and none of the grass around him is on fire.  The man is trying to shield himself from the light and is not looking to the source of the light but is instead looking at his surroundings.

So how does this painting fit me?  I feel like the truth of my situation is that light.  I've attempted to hide the truth by dating girls who were little more than "beards", by altering the way I speak, and by adopting mannerisms that even if they weren't "manly", were at least less effeminate--hiding from the truth behind a tree of my own.  But the smoke and mirrors can only distract for so long and eventually give way to the truth.  And I feel like that is what's happening to me right now.  Even though I've done my best to conceal my feelings and attractions, some things just can't be repressed forever.  And people are around me are starting to clue in--why am I 26 and not married?  Why have I not had a significant relationship for the last five years?  Why are so many of my friends sensitive, well-dressed guys?  And so on.  I worry the most about my family finding out the truth--I don't know if they know me better than anybody, but of course they've known me longer than anybody.  And now, even though the truth is already shining through, I am still trying to shield myself from it.

The hopeful aspect is that the man in the painting is not harmed by the light.  I'm not going to walk around proclaiming my sexuality from the rooftops, but I have acknowledged that people are going to find out about it anyway, and I'm working on being okay with that.  My hope is that no matter how difficult it is, the truth will somehow set me free.

...if none of that made any sense, at least it's a pretty picture.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Pace Non Trovo

I cannot find peace.

I like guys.  Normally I hate starting on that foot, but in order for any of the rest of this to make sense, let's clear that up right away.

I play my cards pretty close to the chest when it comes to anything very personal.  As a result, the only people I've opened up to about my sexuality are my best friend, another close guy friend, a girl who asked me point-blank on a day when I was too down to try to put up a front, my therapist, and a couple of bishops.  Oh yeah.  And an entire subculture of Gay Mormons...Moho's...Strugglers...or whatever you want to call them.  Personally, I call them "family".

I've been involved (to varying degrees) in the whole Gay Mormon culture for perhaps a year and half, off and on.  I could write a book about those experiences alone, but I'll leave that for another day.  During that time, I've seen some friends stay close to their religious beliefs, some who have moved in with their boyfriends, and everything in between.  Having seen some friends go off and pursue the gay lifestyle, I decided early on it wasn't what I wanted for me.  I had a very strict, conventional upbringing and that is the lifestyle I want for myself--to be the cute little couple in sacrament meeting with a number of small kids crawling over each other, living in a traditional little house living the standard LDS lifestyle I grew up in.

I told myself that all I needed to find was some paragon of a woman--someone who embodied the ideals I was striving for and who could understand my problematic attractions and be willing to work through them together with me.  And of course I would need to dig up at least some feelings of attraction for her.  It seemed like a long shot, but I felt confident that it was doable.

Then yesterday happened.  I had more or less lost contact with most of my "family" friends, but one of them invited me to a small get-together yesterday afternoon.  Realizing that I really did miss these guys and had alienated myself more than I ever meant to, I really looked forward to going.  And it was a great experience, letting me rekindle (and even repair) some old friendships with people I had neglected for way too long.

However, one guy caught my attention right away.  There were a few guys ("family" members) there that I hadn't met before and he was one of them.  It's hard to explain what happened, probably because what happened really bothers me.  But I was just captivated by this guy right from the start.  Even before I was introduced to him, I just could not stop looking at him.  I can't even say what it was about him that had me so mesmerized, but I'd be talking with a group of people and all he had to do was cross the room.  Then suddenly I'd realize what I had been following him with my eyes and I'd jump back into the conversation, pretending I was listening the whole time.  But of course I wasn't.

Later when I started talking with this guy, the feelings for him increased. We clicked right away and the more I talked with him, the more I wanted to be around him.  For reasons I don't understand I was powerfully drawn to this guy and it was thrilling.  Even after I left the party he was (and is even now) all I can think about.

Then I started thinking--of all the girls I've dated or met, not one has made me feel that way ever.  Not even close.  And I started re-thinking my plans for a conventional Mormon lifestyle.  Can (or should) I really start a life with someone I might be content to be with, knowing that I would probably never feel that same "spark" with her that I feel when talking to certain guys?  I don't think it's fair to me and it's certainly not fair to her...whoever she is.  On the other hand, do I run off with some guy and give up the ideals and beliefs I've held my whole life?  No matter what I do, something's gotta give.  But it seems like some divine comedy--I desperately want two things in my life, and I can have one.  But I can't stop thinking that whichever one I choose to give up will always be there in the back of my mind, gnawing away.

So there's the situation.  Two terrible possibilities and no chance I can see of mitigating the emptiness.  I'm stuck at this crossroads and even now I have no idea what I'll decide to do.