Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Well, that was a total joke!
What a disappointing experience!
I went to my very first counseling session this afternoon. What a disaster! I don't know if I was expecting too much from a first visit or whether the therapist was really that bad, but it was awful.
I don't really know what I was expecting... maybe I've seen too many movies where the character goes to the office of a therapist and starts chatting away about all of his problems, and occasionally in a half-interested way, the therapist asks: "And how does that make you feel?" The person continues his monologue and then the therapist, half-asleep questions: "And how does that make you feel?"
Maybe I was wishing for more. I've been encouraged incessantly, even relentlessly from fellow bloggers to seek professional help. I must admit that I don't have a lot of faith in clinical social workers and psychologists, as I've been burned in the past. So maybe I was just hoping for more.
I want to find someone young and enthusiastic, passionate about his/her work. I want a therapist to be up to date and informed of the latest studies and thought. I want my therapist to be engaging and interested in me. Is that too much to ask for?
What I got was a fine gentleman, too old, who though very polite and kind, sympathetic and concerned, seemed half-asleep and not engaging at all. He was more interested in confirming anything I said instead of searching for confirmation that what I said had any basis for truth or fact.
I don't need to pay someone to sit and listen to my problems and just agree with me. I don't want a YES MAN. I want someone who can contradict me, challenge me, enliven me in a debate of self-discovery. I've already come to many conclusions, but I don't know if they are correct. I don't need someone to confirm that I've come to a conclusion. I want guidance.
Isn't there a test to certify that I really am gay? Isn't there some way to prove that I have SSA? If I just say that I'm attracted to beautiful men and go googly-eyed when I see an athletic college student - who's to say that that is enough. Is it just my reality verses my reality? Why is this so hard to explain?
He wanted to know my 'goals'. I don't know what my goals are other than to feel a peace inside me, to understand why I'm the way I am, and to reach some kind of understanding with my wife so that we can get on with a meaningful relationship. What I don't want to do is to CHANGE who I am. Deep down, I like who I am. I have a healthy self-esteem and I don't feel suicidal (at least most of the time). I'm basically content with my life and I'm doing okay in my normal day-to-day existence. I am very happy that I am a sensitive, caring guy, who likes to be affectionate and open and loving with people. I like that I am creative and have a passion for design and have been successful in my design career. I don't want to lose these feelings and characteristics of who I am and what makes me ME!
When I told him I didn't see a great need to CHANGE, but that I wanted to learn to be at peace, I sensed he was a bit disappointed, though he was very nice and sympathetic about it. It was like talking to my Bishop more than talking to a professional. I felt like I was pushing the conversation along and "confessing" to things. It got to the point that this guy didn't have a clue of what I truly was trying to express, and so I gave up trying... and soon the hour was over. I sensed that he was concerned about his next appointment and that when my 'time was up', he stopped listening. Can you sense my frustration?
I didn't make a return appointment, but took his card and told him that I'd be getting back in touch with him.
I don't think so...
Some good things have come of this:
1. It has started an intense dialog between me and my wife - a discussion that we haven't had in a long time - a much needed discussion, even if there are emotions of pain and hurt and confusion, and unjustified judgment on her part.
2. It has planted the seed that when I am ready, we will need to do this therapy thing together in some fashion... but first I need to be sure of where I am going and what I want to understand so that I can articulate it better to her.
3. This being willing to seek counseling has given me a HUGE brownie point in the eyes of my wife. She sees me willing to try to work things out and being proactive instead of passive about my issues and our relationship.
4. Since this guy was the therapist SHE found for me, it has been easy to now dismiss him, saying I tried (and I seriously did give the guy an hour of trying on my part), and she has realized that he isn't the right kind of therapist for me.
5. This frees me up to find someone more of my liking, more open to new ideas, maybe less conservative and perhaps non-Mormon. If I can find the right fit then I think she'd buy into it.
6. It has given me a direction to think out my goals and to come to appreciate that I am relatively calm about who I am, feeling much less angst, as long as I can keep it in control. I know that is asking for a lot and maybe it's an impossible task - I don't know.
7. He did state that in many cases he's been able to identify the "moment" or "cause" or "event" in a man's life when things generated the attraction. But in the majority of cases, he's convinced they are something we have always had with us. I don't know if he was just responding to me about my conviction that I didn't have a catastrophic event in my life (such as molestation), but that I was ALWAY this way from early childhood, through adolescence and on into young adulthood... he even stated (and this is from a very conservative Mormon Bishop type)that our attractions often times can originate from the pre-existence eons ago and that our mortal lives are opportunities to respond or deal or embrace them - but that they don't originate from something post-birth. I found that interesting, though I'm not sure that I believe he knows anything. When I explained this theory to my wife, she seemed surprised. She's still looking for a magic pill, or a secret potion or flip of a wand that can make IT all go away. He did state that such notions were folly and unsound and that he excepted that I was who I was and was convinced that that was unquestionably true. Again, I don't know if he was just trying to agree with me or if he had evidence to state such things. I didn't see much evidence... just agreement. And again, I don't want someone to agree with me, I want to have guidance and truth. I guess in this very vague science there is no such thing as truth.
Anyway, though I'm a bit discouraged, it's picked up our marriage a bit and I'm on to searching for a better match at my wife's approval. I reason that I'll give this three strikes. If I can't find someone in three attempts at bat that engages me in a very personal way and shows enthusiasm and passion for this subject in an intelligent and knowledgeable way - then I'll call it quits and re-evaluate and keep on studying on my own.
For, from where I was two years ago (complete denial) to now (almost full self-acceptance of being gay/SSA), I've come quite a way on my own... and I've done it and still kept the hopes of eternal covenants intact, and a desire to still live and discover new things!
So, it's strike one!
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
I'm at the point where things really can't get any worse. If I don't look at her right or search her out to say "hi", or if I don't hug her just the right length or with just the right amount of passion, then I don't love her at all... and then all of the pain of the past comes rushing back to the surface.
She's bringing up situations and circumstances of 20 years ago and if I don't remember the detail of the event and the pain that was caused by my "issues" or lack of interest, or whatever it was, then obviously I don't care enough about her.
I'm sick of it... I can never measure up! I can't take back those words of my "confession" of coming out to her last year and so now everything comes back to that "I KNEW" about these things all along, and yet why did I ever think of marrying her? And if I "KNEW", then why did I go through with it...
And now with so much time passed, and so much pain, and now stirring up all of the pain of all of the past incidents - it's killing us! We're stabbing each other with verbal knives and I hate it... I just can't stand it any more!
She's tortured! And I can do or not do the simplest things and she's off on her tortured mode. I can't live like this. She can't live like this. This isn't living!
I see a therapist for the first time tomorrow. I enter with trepidation. At first I wasn't quite sure what to say or how to start it off, but now with today's storms of emotion, I've got plenty of fodder to begin any therapy.
I don't know where I want this therapy thing to go... I'm still not convinced it will do any good. Honestly, I don't know what to expect and I'm skeptical of the whole process. With that skepticism, can therapy really do any good?
The thing that comes back to haunt me is the total unfair view she is placing on me. She is acting as if I knew everything about my situation back when we were courting and engaged, and yet, for whatever reason, I went through with marriage anyway. In reality back then, I didn't know at all about where or how this was all coming together. I certainly held puzzle pieces in my hand, incidents and memories and events that maybe made sense to some, but to me, they were just my life's experiences a piece at a time. They didn't become the PICTURE of the situation, the whole of it, until I was able to piece together these various puzzle pieces a year or so ago...
And now, after having done so, both she and I can't help but look back at this incident or that event or that lack of emotion or that ill-placed feeling of passion with a clear PICTURE in mind, with all of the jigsaw pieces firmly attached in their proper order and unique place. And we can't go back to the naive times, the innocent periods of understanding, the ignorance of our sexual lives. But, our thoughts and feelings and recollections in today's eyes do that very thing - and we judge ourselves based on the current understanding, not judging on the basis of our understanding at the time with scattered disconnected puzzle pieces before us.
Does any of this make sense to anyone????
I feel like I'm being judged unjustly. Certainly I've caused her deep pain for which I am terribly sorry. Certainly I've been the cause of hurt and neglect and making her feel unwanted and repulsive...
But to say that I did so INTENTIONALLY, deliberately knowing is just plain unfair!
This is getting me nowhere. I don't think I may blog much longer. I don't feel like I'm making any progress. When I began, I had this vision of wanting to discuss about so many things that were consuming me, about affection, about beauty, about perfection, about joy, about age and mid-life crises etc. etc...
But now I just don't care.
Things are beginning to unravel. The pieces that finally fit together to tell the story of the ENTIRE PICTURE of my life, of our lives together, is too hurtful, too painful... and we can't go back. All she wants is for me to "change" so that I don't desire being with men anymore. All she wants is for us to have a "normal" life together. I'm not sure I want to "change"... Change into what? I am who I am and I'm finding it hard to "change" into someone else. Certainly I want to understand and be able to deal with these challenges...
but what is normal?
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
It's been pretty stressful lately.
We've been doing a lot of talking. She's reached the point where she can't deal with the status-quo of doing nothing. She's used the "D" word (divorce) for the first time, and phrases such as:
"Why did you ever marry me?"
"Do you find me repulsive?"
"It's so hard to lie next to you knowing you don't want to be with me"
"Are we just friends?"
"The only reason why I'm holding on is because of the kids..."
"Any other woman would have left you six months into this..."
"Why have you wasted the best years of my life?"
There's been a ton of tears, emotional turmoil, frustration... I think the "D" word has been used in frustration... but the point is well taken that she's through dealing with it in silence, in long-suffering, with a spirit of endurance for the hope of something better.
So, we eventually got to the point where I need to seek counseling.
(I know, I know... those who follow this blog are saying "well, it's about time, Beck!")
(drum roll please)
I actually have an appointment with a counselor who deals with these issues - a week from tomorrow. I know this shouldn't be so traumatic, but it is. At this point, however, I'd rather face a counselor with these issues than the tears and frustration of my wife. So, I'll give it a try. I'll be honest and open and see where this goes. At this point, it can't hurt. I mean, can things get worse?
There's already enough hurt to go around.
I'm feeling like they think I've got a "disease" or something, and I'm sick and need to see a doctor to get better. I feel like they think I'm damaged and need fixing... or at least I feel like this is what society, my wife, etc. expect of me - to be fixed.
I told her that I've become familiar with the different approaches of therapy - that there is affirmation therapy and reparation therapy and that I'm not sure I want either - am I entitled to a say in this matter? I mean, I don't feel like I need to be fixed. Yes, I'm broken. My heart is broken. My spirit is broken, but deep down, I don't feel broken. So what do I need to fix?
I don't feel the need to "embrace" affirmation, and yet the ecclesiastical approach of reparation is repulsive - as fasting and prayer and embracing the atonement aren't "cures" for this "disease". I need to find something in between.
I expressed this to her, and she understood and is trying to be supportive. She seems happier now that I've agreed to take this step.
I guess it remains to see if I'm stepping up to greater heights, or whether I'm stepping off the cliff.
Saturday, June 17, 2006
Last night, in hopes of rekindling something, we decided to attend the temple and worship together. It has been a few months, to be honest with you, that we've gone together as a couple, trying to be the happy, stereotypical eternal mates of the stereotypical culture. But I didn't feel very stereotypical.
I caught myself in the session looking around for any "hot guys", realizing right then and there that my spirit and attitude weren't in the right place or frame of mind, and (not having found anyone to stare at and drool over) thus I settled into a state of self-absorbed depression, brooding on the fact that I'm so screwed up and that my wife really would have been "better off" not having "wasted the best years of her life" on such damaged material as myself.
Instead of paying attention to the spirit trying to help me along, I just started concentrating on everything that is beginning to feel so foreign to me within the Church, even the allegiance to the Brethren and this whole same-sex marriage thing that is getting me down and confused and muddied. (I mean, this idea that we should always agree with everything they say for they speak for God... I've never ever questioned that before in my life, ever, until now... and that questioning makes me question everything else and I hate it and hate me for feeling this way!)
By the time I got to the Celestial Room, my wife was waiting on the couch (she got through much sooner than I). It was Friday evening, so the place was crowded with other stereotypically happy couples enjoying their happy times of celestialhood. It wasn't an environment very conducive to meditation (we shouldn't have come on Friday). We embraced and cuddled together, though immediately she sensed something NEW was bothering me. She knew we haven't been "right" together with each other for a week now, but this was something "new". I told her "it's okay" and went into a prayer of contemplation mode trying to feel some kind of spirit - a good spirit - in the Lord's House. But the internal voices of insecurity and self-doubt, of lack of a solid and firm marriage, of lack of brotherhood and lack of devotion all tumbled over and over in my brain like tennis shoes in the dryer, making so much noise, the still small voice couldn't register even a faint blip on the radar screen...(I'm sure I wasn't in tune to the signal enough anyway) so I finally got up and we left.
I truly know the workings of the still small voice. Sometimes, most often, it takes me going to a quiet place, my mountain, to be alone and at peace. I haven't been there for some time. The voices of life, the static of the world with pressures of living in this world, often clutter that sense of peace. And when I'm not at peace with my sexuality and NOW even my spirituality, I just feel like I'm slipping... slipping...
* * * *
This morning I guess I didn't "encourage" her enough during our cuddle time (though I truly wanted her to touch me and to be intimate with me - but I wanted it to be spontaneous and that she wanted it, too, and I guess because I have "burned her" so many times in the past, and she's been "hurt" so many times from my physical "rejections", it's as if she's gone into a defense mechanism that if I don't put her hand in the place where I want it to have her KNOW that I want her there with me, then she's not going to lift a finger toward our relationship - and when you don't get it there - everything else goes downhill from there in the daily struggles of normal life), that she pulled away from me again and we aren't in sync with each other at all. It's like we're just putting in the time, awaiting a transfer or something...
I don't know. I hate it.
All I know is I'm feeling it slipping away as well. We have big major plans this summer for a once-in-a-lifetime family adventure, and other stuff that is HUGE for our family dynamic (to be announced or commented on later)... and it scares me that we're going down a road arm-in-arm and soon we may be just hand-in-hand, and then finger-tip-to-finger-tip, until finally we let go...
* * * *
Maybe -L- is right, maybe I'm just allowing these things to happen to me - allowing myself to slip away from life, from family, from Church, from God - as I do NOTHING about these things! Maybe I'm searching for it to get "bad enough" that I will have no alternative but to seek outside help to get me back "in tune".
IN TUNE... now that's an interesting topic:
"I suggest a simple solution for selecting the channel to which we attune ourselves: listen to and follow the voice of the Spirit. This is an ancient solution, even eternal,and may not be popular in a society that is always looking for something new. It requires patience in a world that demands instant gratification. This solution is quiet, peaceful, and subtle in a world enamored of that which is loud, incessant, fast paced, garish, and crude. This solution requires you to be contemplative while your peers seek physical titillation. This solution is one unified, consistent, age-old message in a world that quickly becomes bored in the absence of intensity, variety, and novelty. This solution requires us to walk by faith in a world governed by sight. With the eye of faith we are to see eternal, unseen, spiritual verities, while the masses of mankind depend solely on temporal things which can be known only through the physical senses... We need to learn how to ponder the things of the Spirit and to respond to its promptings - to filter out the static generated by Satan. As we become attuned to the Spirit, we shall hear a word behind us saying, This is the way, walk ye in it. Hearkening to the "voice of the living God" will give us peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come. These are the greatest of all the gifts of God." -- James E. Faust, Ensign June 2006.
I know what it feels like to be "in tune" and "on the path" and yet the "filtering mechanism that filters out the static generated by Satan" on my personal radio is currently broken. It's not only broken, the antennae are missing and the tuning dial has fallen off. It may be broken beyond the ability to be repaired. (Yes, I know the analogy for the Atonement comes in here somewhere and that none of us are BEYOND HOPE and all that good stuff that I do believe)...
I feel so broken...
P.S. Sorry for all the lame analogies in this pathetic entry.
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
I can't tell whether I'm halfway under or halfway out... either way, I'm not breathing too well.
I realize I shouldn't be unloading my counseling needs on cyberspace, but it helps me to vent a bit, and maybe bring some kind of clearness of thinking.
We've continued our normal life together as life expects it to be, putting on the peaceful image for our kids. (Thank God for the kids - they've been our saving grace numerous times!) And yet, privately, there has been a change - something that isn't right. It's like two jigsaw puzzle pieces that have been forced together and you think it fits and works, but when other surrounding pieces have to connect, it's obvious they don't fit and need to be shifted around. It's as if she has said to me "Okay, you want it as we were? Well, then, you will have to do a lot more work for it, buster!". I mean, for the last 18 months (ever since I came out to her)we've really been physically close, closer than we ever were in the previous two decades! But now, it's as if I've crossed a line, and she's stopped trying.
We still cuddle, but at my insistence. We still kiss, but no longer is there passion. It's as if she's pulled back, sending a message that she still loves me, but she's tired of my "issues" and being the one always working for that romantic passion.
I haven't been "wanting" the romantic passion and sex as much as she has... it's always been that way. I never have! Don't get me wrong - this recent trend for more intimacy has been fun and exciting, but it's also been work, and getting into the "right frame of mind" has been more and more difficult. I've sunk into homoerotic thoughts to get "excited". I wish I didn't have to do this, as I wish I could be excited just for her sake. She senses this and I think she's tired of it. She's sending signals that I've got to put out more effort or we aren't going to have any relationship again, and then what do we have?
And yet, I was just trying to be honest with her to let her know how hard this is for me, and how I feel like I'm a sea lion expecting to "perform" at her touch... and the more I stress over it, the worse it gets, and the more I don't want to do it and just sink into a cyber life of "soft porn". I think she's hurt and tired of it...
I know she's hurt!!
I have "wasted her life". She pointed out very adamantly that "any other wife would have divorced me six months into this sham of a marriage". And look how long we've survived (I don't know whether that gives hope to anyone else out there that this mixed orientation marriage can be devout and long-lasting over twenty years - but we've done it - with tons of good that has come from it, but tons of struggles and loss of precious time and needed passion). She's right in the sense that we haven't connected very well sexually, but we have been and continue to be soulmates in so many other ways - and I've grown to the point that I can't imagine life without her, despite my fierce desires to cuddle and hug and be with young beautiful guys!!!
I guess I can counterpoint that "I've given up my true desires for homosexual relations" in search of something better with her - and I've never "crossed that covenant-breaking line". I've allowed her to vent without venting back. We haven't escalated our frustrations with each other to the point of yelling. Just silence, isolation, tears, and slowing pulling back apart... I sense we are going back where we were, and she is beginning to realize I'm never going to truly change.
I wish she'd want to be a part of what is going on inside me, but I know she doesn't. She wants me to get over it and get into her and her only. I can't bring her to realize this needs to be the both of us fighting for each other together. But, if anything, I sense this new shift in our relationship has allowed me to think more openly about seeking counseling and not hiding it from her. It's always been a nagging concern of going off to a counselor in secret and then having to explain where I've been and what medical payments I've made, etc. I think now, if this shift continues, it will give me the insentive to openly pursue professional help - and when the time is right - hopefully, she'll be able to join in.
* * * *
And then, I feel like I'm slipping in Church activity... not in my testimony, my personal spiritual convictions, don't get me wrong, but in my desires to participate with the ward family, with quorum brothers (YUCK) and activities, with interactions with the "saints". It just is feeling more and more foreign and more and more not a part of me, and I'm beginning to worry if I'm on the first steps of stepping away.
I'm not questioning the spiritual witnesses that I've had, that have filled my reservoir to overflowing - I'm still drawing on those reservoirs, but I'm no longer overflowing, and I'm pulling back... sinking...
* * * *
This whole entry sounds like mindless rambling. I'm sorry for that. Maybe I should just pull back and stop talking about these things.
Am I going under or am I coming out?
Monday, June 12, 2006
She came back and we tried to talk, but mainly we avoided the subject for the rest of the day. She told me that I was self-obsorbed and needed to get over it and think of us as a couple and not me as a problem. She's right... I have been self-obsorbed and it confuses my "ability to perform" when it counts.
That night, I started to massage her back and she just started crying. It was as if my touch triggers in her the knowledge that I haven't fully loved her and only her, and she feels like her life has been thrown away on a relationship that is seriously broken.
I wasn't sure I'd even be allowed back in bed, but she "granted me permission". I cuddled with her as she sobbed. I didn't sob. Maybe I'm beyond sobbing anymore. I don't know. But I just held her until she finally relaxed enough to go to sleep. We were both emotionally exhausted.
Sunday morning came and I started convincing myself that I wasn't going to go to church. She went off to meetings so I was able to think. I reconvinced myself to go, as I had to teach a lesson, though I didn't feel like teaching anyone anything inspiring.
When we did go to church, we didn't say anything nor touch each other. My heart ached. I dropped her and the kids off at the front door and then went to park the car at the back. When I got to the back door, there was my dear friend. He obviously was waiting for me and could see my face. We embraced. Not the typical High Priest embrace, but the full body embrace. I buried my head in his shoulder and started sobbing. He didn't ask anything. Countless people passed us by on the way up the steps into the building, and I didn't care. He just held me and it felt so good and peaceful. There was nothing sexual about it. It was just so warm and comforting and gave me the strength to enter the building.
When we broke, he just smiled. He has no idea what is going on, but I think he feels he's helping me with these hugs.
Then I went to Priesthood... I'm beginning to hate my High Priest Quorum meetings. There are so many "gems" that I take from that gathering of brethren. For example, here are a few that come to mind over the course of the last few weeks:
1. If you haven't received the answer to your prayers, it's because you haven't exercized enough faith. (I tried to point out that maybe the answer hadn't come "just yet", but that the faith of the Brother of Jared could still have been exercized).
2. If you don't endure, don't dispair, you can always be used as a bad example. (Said in jest, but still the point was taken that we fail or don't measure up if we don't endure to the end exactly as "normal church going folk" do).
3. All children should be expected to 1) graduate from college, 2) go on a mission, and 3) be married in the temple. (I recognize those are good and worthy goals, but there are many people across this globe that will never attend college, and besides that, there are men in the quorum whose sons have, for whatever reason, not chosen to go to college or serve missions... are they damned forever?)
4. We as a church are no longer prejudiced, as President Hinckley emphasized in the last General Conference, but we certainly can see that mixed-racial marriages are doomed from the start. (no need for comment).
5. 70% of black children are illegitimate - so much for the strength of the family. (again a totally inappropriate comment).
Now I know it sounds like I'm picking a fight, or maybe I'm emotional and overly sensitive, and I probably am... but I just don't fit in the Quorum at all. I hate it! I detest it! I don't relate to those men... Maybe I can ask permission to fall back into the Elders Quorum where there may be further light and knowledge...
My lesson went fairly well, though I was so distraught, I left all my notes at home. So I winged it and I felt the spirit strongly, believe it or not, and had a few class members crying their eyes out. Afterward, I was asked to give a blessing to one of the sisters in the class who has been struggling. I hesitated, but was relieved when another priesthood brother, a dear friend, also was asked to be the voice, and I had to just participate as the second brother. I prayed so hard that my current confusion wouldn't intefere with his inspiration or her needs. I prayed for her as her problems at the moment seemed so much more real than mine. In the end we hugged and cried together. It was wonderful and beautiful and brought me enough peace to go to Sacrament Meeting. We were late, but it was okay...
My wife accepted me and told me it was okay as we partook of the sacrament.
We're not there yet... I've got to seek help... Maybe this has brought something out between us to allow me to seek help... I don't know. I'm not sure about much of anything. But, I do know that I felt the spirit in my class, in participating in the blessing, and in my wife's acceptance of me again, at least for now.
But most of the time, I just feel like curling up in a ball...
Saturday, June 10, 2006
we woke up and cuddled...
everything was good...
she wanted it...
i couldn't perform...
she kept attempting to massage me...
but to no avail...
i told her: "it isn't working"...
she got all upset and started crying...
she quickly left the bedroom and got dressed...
she stormed back in and told me i better figure out what is going on inside me or else...
she growled that i better decide whether i want to be married anymore or it is high time we get a divorce...
she blubbered something about "giving me the best years of her life" and for what???
and that i've ruined her life...
i just stared at her, not expecting such a reaction to a simple statement about my ability to do it with her this morning...
she wanted a response, but i didn't know what to say - her tears stifled me...
she left in a huff - has been gone for several hours now!
i feel my life is over...
Saturday, June 03, 2006
It's been a good time for my family in the last few days. My eldest graduated high school, and my youngest "graduated" (or advanced from) kindergarten. It is a time of celebration... a time of reflection... a time of change.
As I sat through each of these ceremonies of one of life's passages, I reflected on my own graduation and the time that has passed by. And it made me ponder what I've really done with my life. I'm certain we all go through it... I mean, wondering if we are contributing and engaging and tackling life head on and being a part of humanity and part of the process of growing and stretching personally, but also helping and lifting and serving others along the way... making a difference.
The theme of the high school graduation was from Shakespeare's Julius Ceasar:
"There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune, omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are now afloat, and we must take the current when it serves or lose our ventures".
Sounds generic enough, the good ol "seize the day" or "our lives have just begun and opportunities abound before us" stuff.
But, it made me think about how NOT DEALING with my "issues" of homosexuality, or even coming to terms with what that means, and delaying the process for such a very long time, has made my life "bound in shallows and miseries". I have had moments when I have "taken at the flood" and lived my life more fully, and I've felt that taste of joy, of completeness. But, I'm held back from embracing life fully, and I find myself perpetually treading water in the shallows!
This shouldn't be taken that I regret completely the path I've chosen. Because of my choices, I have been greatly blessed with amazing experiences and joys. Just to see my children be so happy, so grown up, so amazingly beautiful - it's worth so much to me... their white smiles at the ceremonies - priceless!
* * * *
There was another quote, typically heard at such ceremonies, that stated:
"A life lived in fear is a life half lived..."
I sat there contemplating that one as well. I have way too many fears in my life, and in the process, I feel half-lived or nearly-dead sometimes.
* I fear getting old and find myself envying the young.
* I fear sexually being honest, and living a life desiring male bonding and intimacy but never really finding it and knowing it.
* I fear true honesty with my wife, for fear of losing her, instead of facing the issues at hand in a mature manner and working them out "with her" and not "without her".
* I fear losing what I have created in my life, my family, my kids, my marriage, but find I'm not treasuring what I have either.
* I fear heights.
* I fear risking the unknown.
But... my personal phobias are a subject for another time...
Right now, I'm just counting my blessing instead of my struggles!
I have felt, these last few days, a real sense of joy in being a small part in the lives of my children.
They have brought such happiness into my life that had I not chosen my current path, may not have ever known! They are my greatest joy and blessing. (I wish I could brag about them and share the amazing, wonderful people they are, but in the spirit of anonymity, I hesitate to do so - so I must leave it at that - and yet, be mindful of all that God has granted me, despite everything I'm personally going through right now - I am blessed and we all need to realize the blessings that are in our lives!) And I thank God each day for my kids and the miracles they are in my life! I am so grateful for them!
There is something magical about a father's love for his children and the sense of pride he feels for the amazing human beings they are becoming. They are literally in every imaginable sense of the word a MIRACLE!
Thursday, June 01, 2006
I've been having an internal debate about this "closet reorganization" or "spring cleaning" I'm doing. It's still very much a "closet", but at least I'm getting things rearranged and some of the dark, back corners are being dusted off and seeing the light of day for the first time in a very long time.
As I re-examine these dark corners in my life, I conclude that in many senses I'm okay with who I am. I've passed the point of self-loathing, and come to the reality that this is who I am and I'm okay with that.
I'm not one for psychobabble and have no training or knowledge in human psychology or philosophy. (Though I have a Masters Degree, obviously for some, my higher education may be lacking when it comes to these introspective searches of 'self'). But here goes...
I have always equated the concept of REPENTANCE with CHANGE. To accept the need for repentance there must also be the concept of RIGHT and WRONG. To accept the concept of right and wrong, there must also be the concept of a HIGHER LAW, and to accept the concept of a higher law, there must needs be a GOD, and per my belief system, this GOD is a loving Father who is my creator and who wants the best for me. He has a plan of JOY for me and wants me to return to be with him again and be like him eventually through his mercy, if I offer up a contrite spirit that is willing to CHANGE, or repent.
For the basic sins and transgressions of life, I have no problem with this concept and am comfortable with my belief system and have been able to repent or CHANGE to become closer to his will. My discipleship, as Elder Maxwell is known to have taught, is centered on my gift to Him of my will to be His will. I understand this. I try to embrace this.
I have made covenants with Him that I hold sacred and try to do my best to honor and sanctify. This includes my marriage covenants. I am a husband and father first and foremost. I have been true to those covenants for over twenty years! This is very much something that I am, something that I hold dear and something that I don't want to CHANGE.
Now the inevitable "but"...
I also am a gay man (though I'm just beginning to come to terms with this and what it really means). If that term means that I "love" men, then I am a gay man, for I truly "love" men. If, however, that term means that I am going to march in the Pride parade in Salt Lake City this coming Sunday, then NO, I am not a "gay" man, or at least that "type" of gay man. I don't mean to be rude... I'm just not at that point. The parade thing is much more "cultural" in my mind than just the raw, basic definition of gay = "love" men.
I don't worry about being a confused and depressed heterosexual. I don't even worry any longer (I've worried long enough) of the causes of why I "love" men. I mean, the psychobabble crowd can throw on interpretations of events in my life that "cause" me to behave or feel this way toward men, but I don't give much credence to that psychobabble. It seems all so stereotypical and generic in nature, as if I'm supposed to "fit" in a certain category... and if I don't exactly "fit" due to my unique personal experiences, then they'll force me to "fit" the mold (be it a mold of affirmation or reparative approaches).
Sure, you can say that I'm the "classic case", as one of my gay confidants has labeled me...
1. I have a very poor relationship with my father. (But so do many heterosexuals).
2. My father was not and is not very expressive to me and has been and continues to be verbally abusive (though in my adulthood, I've come to terms with this).
3. My father has, however, been very supportive and active in my life and always there for me (though distantly) at significant events (though never emotionally - he can't relate to me on an emotional level).
4. I hate most sports (though I love to watch college football) and I suck at playing basketball and was ostracized throughout my adolescence (particularly during my Mutual years) for being a sports-moron whose coordination levels never registered about a 1 on a scale from 1 to 10. I can't make a lay-up for the life of me (though I've really tried to learn - I keep leading with the wrong foot), and I throw a baseball like a girl (and have been teased unceasingly for that physical flaw). I just don't do well in games. (But so do many heterosexual guys).
5. I am envious of athletic guys. I admire their muscular lean structure and coordination, things that I don't have. And for years, I've chalked up my "attraction" to these young athletic men as a "sin of envy". (But so do many heterosexual guys).
6. I am artistic. I design for a living and love to create environments for my clients and myself and have found joy in the creative process. (But all of my associates in my career, who do the same things I do, are heterosexual).
7. I am a sensitive, tender person and good listener. I have built relationships and friendships and clientele, and magnified my spiritual callings of leadership and have had impacts on many lives for the good (here I go patting myself on the back) because of my sensitivities and willingness to become "attached" to people. (But I know many heterosexuals who aren't cavemen, who have a very sensitive and tender side to them, who are just as insightful and helpful as I).
So my point is... Just because I'm emotionally damaged from my father, just because I am a sports-moron, just because I'm envious of athletic guys, just because I'm artistic and creative, just because I'm sensitive, doesn't mean I'm heterosexually suppressed or unmistakeably homosexual. I may be some of both. I JUST AM!
And this senstive, creative, non-athletic, envious guy, that I JUST AM, "loves" to be around 20-something good looking guys, being one of them, associating with them, emotionally bonding with them, physically embracing them, spiritually connecting with them. And I've come to the conclusion that I don't feel guilty anymore for feeling this way. And with no guilt, I feel NO NEED TO CHANGE!
I want the FREEDOM or JUSTIFICATION from someone, from God?, from Satan? from myself?, to be free to express these emotions and attractions, to feel justified in doing so without feeling "sinful". That sounds hypocritical to me. It sounds counter-intuitive. It feels wrong when I say it, but it also feels true. I'm just referring to these "connections" I've been having. They really aren't right in the context of marriage, and so deep down there is guilt and I know I'm asking for the justification of something that is wrong and I should want to change... But I feel so GOOD when I'm "connecting" and I don't want to lose those good feelings, those spiritual bondings, those moments that make me feel whole and helpful and better than myself.
It sounds like I'm seeking the PERMISSION to sin.
Now, I recognize that I'm not talking about sexual relations here. Because of my covenants, I cannot cross that line. And yet, as my gay confidant friend has so forcefully admonished, I am playing with "fire" when I allow these feelings of attraction to go too far, or get too close to the edge...
But, deep down, I don't want to CHANGE. I don't feel guilty any more for "being this way". Have I moved into the realm of Laman and Lemuel who were "past feeling", who even with numerous encounters with spiritual beings, couldn't "feel" the spirit working in them anymore? Am I moving beyond the bounds of the Holy Ghost? Have I been converted as Alma counsels his brethren in his infamous address of Alma Chapter 5, and yet I can't "feel" the powerful influence of the Holy Ghost in my life anymore and thus I must ask "Am I still converted now?"...
I don't know. I am not saying that I doubt the spiritual witnesses I have had and continue to have in my life. I am not saying that I don't have a testimony, or that my spiritual reservoir is empty. I am not saying that I no longer KNOW or BELIEVE in the Gospel. For I do! I truly do! I do stand as a witness of these things. I am NOT denying the spirit.
But... (and here we go with another "but")
I also want to understand, embrace, and live my life fully with the beautiful feelings of attachment I feel with other guys. And I don't want this to CHANGE!
Of course, if I didn't really have any guilt feelings about this "issue" and I wasn't "ashamed" of what I feel, then WHY am I still hiding this blog from my wife? Why am I secretive in my anonymity? Why am I not willing to come out of the closet?
I'm delusional, I'm sure. I'm psychotic. I'm anxious. But I'm beyond desiring to "fast and pray" these feelings away. Now is the time to embrace! (Yet, I want to delusionally embrace without hurting those around me that I hold dear).
I know that Christ understands me. I am not asking for a "pass". I know my WILL must become His WILL if I am to be His disciple. To offer the personal sacrifice of my will at the altar, I need to understand me as Christ understands me!
Somehow there's got to be a way. I am desiring too much, aren't I? I want the proverbial cake and eat it too. I have a hunger, a yearning, a profound desire for these "attachments" and I want them fulfilled. THIS THING I DO NOT DESIRE TO CHANGE! Does that mean I really don't want my will to be His will?
I don't know... As I reread this... nothing makes sense!!! ARRGGHH!!
This past weekend was stormy. I love late spring storms. The foothills and valleys
of Utah are at their greenest at the end of May. The wild grasses and wild flowers are bursting with vibrant life. When the clouds lifted on Monday, the mountaintops were covered with a fresh blanket of snow. The snow lowered to the green foothills and you could draw a line between green and white. The same thing happens in the fall, but the mountains and foothills are brown and golden. There just is something magical about the line of green and white of a spring snow, that change of seasons.
I need to have this black cloud of dispair and confusion lift off of my life, the weight off my shoulders, so I can be as beautiful and vibrant and crisp and clear of a person that I can be, just as the mountains were on Monday out my window.
I've taken this gaggy image too far... I do feel, nevertheless, a different season of "change".