Saturday, July 08, 2006
I've been thinking...
I know that is a dangerous thing to do, especially when I'm not all that philosophical and I claim no real skill in deep reasoning - that is why I'm all messed up in the first place.
But, I'm realizing that my overall problem is that I'm allowing my life to be lived by FEAR.
I've mentioned in the past how I'm afraid of heights and how that has kept me from approach the edge of the cliff - literally, as in the trip to Lake Powell. Well, this 'height' of homosexuality is another cliff for me.
Now, I guess it can be argued that FEAR can be a good motivator. It keeps us from doing stupid things in the first place. Some may say that we naturally fear certain things for our own good and protection. I guess, in some senses, this may be true as we instintively fear harm and hurt. (And I say that FEAR of God, as the term is used in the scripture - is a good thing, too... but this fear is a "respect, awe, reverence, honor" for God, recognizing something greater than oneself - but this is another topic for another day).
But when fear keeps us from risking to try, to reach out, to embrace, to live... then it can be detrimental to the soul.
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NOTE: My wife gave me a book called "FACE YOUR FEAR" by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. I'm just starting to get into it. Though it wasn't written with someone like me in mind, I find the context intriguing.
He makes statements like:
* When you are motivated by fears and insecurities they become self-fulfilling prophesies.
* The moment you fear something, you give it power over you.
* Our greatest fear should be not that we will lose our lives, but that we never lived because we became somebody else.
* Fear is the emotion of conformity. Nothing is more responsible for the erasure of our uniqueness than fear.
* By freezing us in place, fear prevents our reaching out to the things we really want and being the people we really want to be.
I'm sure there is more to come as I keep reading...
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In my "gay" life (as it certainly warrants quotation marks - for I still don't feel like I have any real concept of what I'm talking about here), I've always sought male attention, male friendship, male companionship, male affection, but I've been seeking it from a generally safe distance. SAFE is the key word here. I say I really want to KNOW and FEEL what it is like to have a true male-to-male relationship, but I have never allowed myself to let go and not be afraid and do it! Maybe what I'm really wanting is for someone to say to me or give me the permission to say "it's okay"... but until that someone is ME, it ain't going to happen!
I admit that I was much more open, carefree, and fearless in my relationships with my dear friends I met on my mission and developed "relationships" afterward - as mentioned in previous blogs. And I always go back to those experiences as being the most rewarding, most genuine, most real... because they were innocent, fearless and void of worry (of being caught, of being found out, of even being concerned of what was going on) of any kind. I wasn't analyzing whether I was gay or not. I didn't care. It was amazing... a feeling that I've rarely felt again in my life. A feeling of truly NOT CARING or WORRYING ABOUT what others may be thinking of me! Nothing in the world mattered to me at the moment except for my attachment to my friends - my male friends - who loved me completely and weren't afraid, concerned, or worried about the affection or attraction. They were just happy that we were together.
But since then, my experiences have been guarded, protected, secretive, and SAFE as I've lost that innocence and come to except the fact that I'm gay. This realization has scared me into hiding. (And hiding in a heterosexual life in suburbia Mormon Utah is about as hidden as you can get - no beaches, no clubbing, no weight rooms or gyms, no cruising the streets). Some may say that this is a good thing - this is my conscience speaking to me, the 'still small voice' if you will, that is keeping me in check and in control. Instead of openly seeking relationships like I had with my European buddies, I catch glimpses, steal looks, and fantasize about what it would be like to be in a 'relationship' with that good looking guy, or that one over there.
When I travel for my job, I pass through many airports and take numerous flights and I find myself "rating" guys and carrying on a dialog with myself about whether I'd "do it" with that guy or that guy. I'm always ALWAYS in search of the PERFECT MALE. It's a game. Good or bad, I play it in my mind constantly. It's not unlike the guys at Helaman Halls at BYU who were constantly rating the girls 1-10. I saw no point in their 'frivolous' and 'shallow' behavior, and thought myself superior to such 'childish' games. But here I am 20+ years later still trapped in this frivolity and shallowness (though my ranking scale is 1-5, with 5 being the HOTS!)It's entertaining, but shallow nonetheless... and it's SAFE!
I am finding myself slipping into the world of seeking "attraction" through the SAFE distance of the Internet. I've found myself searching for the PERFECT MALE through images of athletes, male models, body builders and fitness models, etc. Why do I do this? It somehow superficially addresses my needs of male attraction, but in a safe and unattached and therefore dangerous way. There is distance and anonymity. But in that comes the danger of slipping to porn. I fool myself into thinking that I'm SAFE. But I'm really not.
I have been seriously and frightfully attracted to a couple of young guys in my ward as they've grown into adulthood and returned from their missions. We have become very close and intimate friends. I have allowed my "attraction" for them to grow. My attraction for them is very real and very strong. Though it's been very difficult to do, I've admitted this to my wife and though it has caused deep heartache for her, I'm glad I've done it for it helps me to keep it in perspective so that I don't go off and do something really stupid...
But, my point is, THE ATTRACTION INCREASES BECAUSE IT'S FORBIDDEN AND I KNOW IT WON'T HAPPEN. BECAUSE OF THAT, IT'S THERE EVEN MORE. AND IT'S THERE BECAUSE THERE IS A CLOAK OF SAFETY AROUND IT. I don't think I'd ever really do something stupid with them because they, individually speaking, are not in the least bit "attracted" to me in the same way. They are completely straight. And though we've been very affectionate and open in our physical expressions of "love" for each other over the course of many experiences and through the years now (which has been an amazing development in and of itself for typical American guys just aren't that affectionate with each other was we have become), I know deep down that they aren't going to take it to the next level no matter what, nor no matter how much I want to. As much as I say that I desire that they would, and I've fantasized time and time again that they would and that I WOULD respond with open arms to that 'next level' - it's a false desire, because I know that this won't happen. They just don't think this way! (Believe me - I've tried). So, I thank God for the amazing relationships we do have and am pleased that they accept me and my need for affection in an open and fearless, innocent - and dare I say "beautiful" way. Our relationship is unique and beautiful - but fear keeps it safe.
But, I seek these kind of guys and have sought them time and time again, because I know there is no HOPE for anything more, of anything developing into a true romantic or physical relationship, and so by default, I'm held in check and keep myself within the bounds of security, the bounds of propriety, the bounds of the covenants I've made within my beliefs.
And I think... Aren't I wonderful. I'm staying in check! This isn't so hard!
The irony of it all, and it goes right to the point... there is another young guy from my ward who has had the same feelings for these same two guys that I've had. I've watched him FALL for each of them just as I did. And over the course of the last couple of years, he's confided in me and has COME OUT to me and we've discussed our gayness openly with each other. We've been affectionate with each other as well and there is a kindness, a gentleness, a tenderness and compassion for each other as we walk this tight rope balancing act of being active Mormons and gay at the same time. But - and here is the amazing thing - there isn't a physical attraction there between us. Here we are both openly out to each other - he's young and good looking and intelligent and fun to be around - and yet, there is nothing there but friendship. I mean nothing! If either of the other two guys came to my door, or passed me on the street, or in the hall at Church, my heart flutters and skips a beat and I know I still have this indesribable THING for them that makes me continue to realize this 'gay' thing isn't a passing fancy, but a lifelong companion. But I don't have it for the guy who is available and seeking the same thing I've sought. It's like we both know that our availability and desires make this something that we might pursue, and so we don't. The fear kicks in. This is too real, so the attraction is diminished, even extinguished!
I don't know if it's the concept of the human tendency to always want what you can't have, but fail to realize what you do have and not want it?
And then there are the occasions in my life when OUT OF THE BLUE - BAM, BOOM, KABLUEY!!!! I get hit over the head TOTALLY UNSOLICITED with lust from the guy walking by at the sidewalk cafe during the business lunch, the young stud stripped naked with a towel low around his waist at the locker room in the temple of all places, or now this beauty on the tour to the light house on the coast that still haunts me a week later... or countless other guys that just BLOW MY SOCKS OFF!!! I fantasize about them after I've studied and basked in their beauty and manliness and perfection and make up feelings like I want to be kissed by them, held by them, romanticized by them... for in a certain and sure way, I will NEVER see them again, and it's a relationship that I can have from a SAFE distance - no chance of ever developing into anything. Just safe!
All of these psuedo relationships aren't real. Sure, the safety within each type gives the allure for more and more. It's like how far out on the edge can I go to get these feelings of attraction satisfied before truly falling off the cliff. I seek these relationships, these attractions, these fantasies because I know I'm safe.
It's a dangerous game.
I'm aware that in the process, I'm living a life of delusion. I'm living a life of deceipt or the commonly used / even over-used phrase: I'm living a lie! And... I'm really not living life at all.
In this sense, fear and safety are destroying my life.
* "When we experience fear, we curl up and revert to the embryonic position. Our human development proceeds in reverse: we devolve instead of evolve". -- Rabbi Boteach
I mostly feel like I'm devolving faster than evolving. Well maybe not completely - I mean, I've come to accept my feelings and I really LIKE THEM! I don't want to lose them! But I'm doing it in the security and safety of the walls I've placed or I've allowed to be placed around me where there is no risk.
Risk... risk hurt, risk boundaries, risk life! Now that's a concept.
If some great guy came up to me today and caught my eye and I went BAM, BOOM, KABLUEY and all twitterpated inside, and he actually initiated his intent to want something more of me, and there were no safety nets, no walls, no artificial stops... would I go for it? Would I risk it? Would I be attracted? Or when I realize that there is no safety net, I avoid the attraction and run away? Or will the attraction no longer exist because it is no longer safe? Which would I do? I wonder...
I wish I had that opportunity to truly know...
Does any of this rambling on make any sense to anybody else?