I've been contemplating what I really want from all of this internal discussion. I mean, what is the real purpose of it all... to be sexually free? to be honest? to be faithful? to be righteous? to be whole? What is the point?
I have been contemplating the serious decision to take this discussion to the next level and introduce myself to the world of counseling. Seeking a therapist is a scary proposition to me. It's like taking a dive into a bottomless pit with
massive weights around my ankles, and a fear of never resurfacing! I have never sought professional help and never felt like there wasn't something that I couldn't deal with myself. I've been able to last this long and survive years of hiding the truth of myself (even to myself) with various degrees of success and have managed to live a fairly productive life. To say that I "need help" means I can't do this on my own and to "seek help" from others means I'm weak or incapable on some way, shape or form. (There is no judgment here... just feelings of my own self doubt).
But I realize now that I'm fooling myself. I'm not living well or fully! I'm a shell of a person. I'm a facade, a pretty image of self-confidence and intelligence, masked over a confused and hollow soul.
I've actually started the search this week on the Internet for counseling services to explore what is out there and what may meet my needs. There are choices to be made and how to match those choices with my needs and wants is confusing.
So what are my needs? What do I want from diving off the cliff into this bottomless pool of self-discovery?
* I want to realize that nothing is "wrong" with me. Is that self-centered? Maybe something is wrong with me and I need to realize this and correct it... but deep down I don't feel like anything I'm realizing or feeling is inherently "wrong".
* I don't feel the need to be "fixed", nor the desire to "change" and seeking counseling to somehow fix me doesn't make a lot of sense. The idea of therapy to "change me back" doesn't sound right.
* I want the proverbial "cake and eat it too" attitude. This includes several things such as:
- I want to stay married, or at least be able to stay close to my wife and not hurt her in any way possible. (I'm afraid that going to counseling will ultimately pull me away from my wife and cause deep pain for her - and I'm frightened of that).
- I want to stay a father and continue to develop a loving relationship with my children (and I don't want to see them hurt in any way during this process either. I'm fearful of what this counseling will lead to as I step out into the light of day and face my children with what I may realize to be self-truth).
- At the same time, I wonder if I really want a family. My wife has asked me point blank that question many times. It has more to do with my living a hollow existence instead of embracing what I have. I want to understand how to embrace!
- I want an understanding of why I have these feelings of attraction for men and how I can learn to deal with them.
- If I were to be completely truthful, I would say that I long for a meaningful emotional bonding relationship with a man who loves me fully and completely, including physically or sexually. But how could that happen with the notion of wife and kids above. Am I really that selfish to desire both? I mean, the family life remains in tact, while I go off emotionally, physically, sexually with my boyfriend or partner? (I know this sounds very immature and unrealistic and I realize that... but it is a thought of the notion of "how to have it all". I recognize this notion is full of falacies in that in such a relationship, I really don't have anything at all).
- I want to keep some foundation of who I am, including my belief system of God and my relationship with Diety. I don't want to give up on my "spiritual convictions" or the "spiritual knowledge" that has anchored me so far (some may say "chained me so far"). I'm unsure of how counseling may bring conflict into those beliefs and lead me to pull back even further from the Gospel and Church moreso than I already am. I'm already doubting a lot of things and feeling myself pull away from others as it is.
- I want to gain some sense of peace, some kind of resolution of how to reconcile the conflicts I feel within my soul.
- I want to be free to live, to be me, to feel whole, to not be afraid any more, to stop fearing what others think, to stop fearing the perceived judgment of man and God, to stop fearing the desires to express myself openly to other men without looking over my shoulder to see who's watching. I am living a life of FEAR and I'm tired of it and yet I'm AFRAID to do anything about it.
- I want to feel what it feels like to be gay and not just haunted by lust or imaginary feelings of supposition having no basis of reality.
- I want something more. Is this a sinful desire?
- I want it all.
I feel like I'm on the cliff's edge. I see the waves crashing far below. I feel the butterflies in my stomach (I hate heights). I know I'm stuck on a ledge. I can't go back and the only way off the ledge is to jump and I don't want to jump either because of the potential painful outcome. So, instead of jumping, I'm attempting to climb down the cliff and I find myself clinging with fingertips on a ledge, my feet dangling freely, unable to reach the next ledge below me. I can't pull myself up and I can't touch the next foothold. I'm stuck. I've got to let go...
NOTE: This situation really did happen to me a couple of years ago. I was at Lake Powell with a bunch of Young Men and we climbed through a slot canyon and came out at the opposite end and found the only way out was to jump 50 feet into the water below. One by one, the guys jumped fearlessly into the lake, the awaiting boat now meeting them at this end of the slot canyon. Some were a bit more hestitant, but with encouragement from their peers below, ended up jumping. And then there was just me left stranded on that cliff. I could have returned into the slot canyon and walked out at the other end and made the guys and boats go back to retrieve me, but the pressure was there to jump. As I've said, I'm terrified of heights and jumping that 50 feet into the water below, even though I saw them all do it before me successfully, was too much for me to do. My mind wouldn't go there. I just couldn't do it. Everyone was cheering me on, jeering me on to jump, even the other adult leader on the boat who wanted to get on with it. I saw a ledge below and reasoned that I could hang off the ledge I was at and reach down to it. So, I started scaling the shear sliprock face. Of course, the ledge was farther than than I supposed and now I was really in a precarious situation. I couldn't safely let go into the water because I needed to push off out over other rocks to land safely (had I jumped this wouldn't have been an issue). So there I was dangling and now the jeering was even worse as I was helplessly stuck. One young man (the guy I kissed in the garage the other day) saw my predicament as serious and took it upon himself to climb up to help me. He reached the ledge that I was trying to drop to and ordered me to let go! I screamed at him with obvious panic and told him I couldn't let go. He then said... "Trust me... I'll catch you, just let go!". (I had developed a deep love and trust in him already and to this day I love him more than I should). I looked down and he was still a good ten feet below me. With all the trust I could muster, I let go, placing my life (in my mind of panic) literally in his arms. His strong arms did catch me and held me tight to him on that narrow ledge. We hugged (in front of all the jeering machos below witnessing this) and then from the 30 foot level jumped together into the water below. I took a lot of ribbing for that, but for me, it was very much a real life and death situation and I was literally rescued. I've told him countless times that I'm indebted to him forever for "saving my life". He's told me that he's indebted to me for saving his "spiritual life" and helping to find his path. Somehow, what I've done for him doesn't repay him for what he's done for me.
Well, I now find myself wanting to be in the arms of someone who will catch me as I take the plunge.
I've got to let go...