I read an article posted by Chris/Hurricane entitled "When the Beard Is Too Painful to Remove" in the New York Times. It has given me much pause. There is such inherent sadness to the storyline. I don't find solace or consolation in my situation of leaving what I have for that "great unknown".
There seems to be a consensus that when one discovers his "sexuality" too late in the race, there is no way to catch up and join the pack. (Okay, right now you should start putting on your Vangellis CD of "Chariots of Fire") A mid-40s guy like myself, coming to terms with homosexuality, starting to see the affects of age, is nothing but fodder for rejection and undoubted failure... (as DW stated a few blogs ago - an unenviable position to be in, particularly with my religion thrown on top of it all) and why would the young bucks even consider being hog-tied to an old geezer - where is the "growing old together" scenario of happiness in that? I know it sounds defeatist, but where is there any hope in finding "joy" in this "other" world?
As much as I bemoan, grumble about, or angst over the current situation I find myself in (particularly when young guys like HIM are around), I've got a pretty damn good life! Despite my "coming out" to my wife, she still miraculously loves me and supports me and wants to be with me. Though some may say she will never truly understand me and how "sad" that is for us, she at least is trying and desires nothing more than to keep us together so that we can "grow old together" - that companionship that isn't created from one-night flings (that sounds judgmental - I really don't know about it and don't mean to be cruel - but from my point of view, there seems to be such coldness, such chill, such loneliness, such sadness).
We have been able to hold this thing together this long, with a great measure of success - bucking the odds of failure rates of mixed-oriented marriages. I guess for most - we are freaks of nature. And for some, I'm a double freak... I'm a freak because I'm gay in the first place, and I'm a freak because I choose to be married to a woman that I love. (Though I'm IN LOVE with the IDEA of being with a man, I am married to a woman I LOVE). I'm a freak to my religion and culture. I'm a freak to the gay-culture. I'm a freak to the psychological world of science. I'm a freak to my Church and its teachings. No matter which side...
In a certain sense, I'm okay with that. Over the course of the last year, I've come to terms of liking who I am. I hated myself for years, but I'm okay with being gay. No, I'm beyond okay - dare I say it - I'm PROUD to be gay! (Well, all right - I'm proud to say it under the cloak of this anonymous blog).
But, internally, I'm proud. There is no self-loathing anymore. There is no desire to hate myself. I am past that.
I'm also PROUD to be married to a wonderful soulmate, eternal companion, and mother of my children. I couldn't be prouder of her and the family we've created together in this very unique balance.
Now I don't want to portray here that I'm "settling" for the convenience and companionship and safety of my marital relationship because I don't see on the horizon "anything better" in the other camp. I don't want to portray that I'm giving up the race because I started too late, tripped and fell, and can't catch up anyway so "why try?" attitude. And I don't want to portray that I somehow am in denial of my natural attractions - for they show me daily their manifestations and remind me just how REAL they are!
What I am saying is: I have chosen. Good or bad, depending on your view, I have chosen. I chose based on sound principles, beliefs and convictions - convictions that have been a conscious part of me for three decades. I have chosen the better part. To a measured extent, it has been by default - but for the most part, it has been my choice to live this life I'm living. And I wouldn't change it. I am devoted to being the father of my children and the husband of my eternal mate. I have chosen family commitments and covenants.
I can dream of "what ifs" and "what abouts" all I want - about what life would have been like had I had my realizations 25 years ago as a teen. Maybe my choices would have been different. I could have gone back and enjoyed that 'relationship' with my Italian gay buddy after my mission - but I didn't. We could have had a wonderful life together instead of him dying in misery with AIDS a few years later - maybe I could have stopped him from destroying himself and we could have lived happily ever after - but we didn't. I could have run away with one of my young men and started up life again as a multi-generational family-unit of sorts - me living out my passions with a gorgeous rippped buck, and he with a sage, wannabe mentor, but I haven't. I could dream of holding HIM, walking hand-in-hand into the sunset (after all Chris/Hurricane thinks he's gay - what do I have to lose, right?) - but I won't. For HIS sake I won't. He needs to find someone his age, in his circumstance - HE doesn't need another father/mentor/sage-friend in his life - though I love playing that role and will probably continue to play it as long as he is open to it) - but I'm really not going to go off with him now, am I?
Nevertheless, I have gone down this particular road long enough to know those are not reality. Those are dreams. Just because I have the "desire" or the "dream" to have that relationship of manly love doesn't mean I should!
I can also dream of the "what ifs" of breaking all odds and remaining faithful and devoted in this mixed-oriented marriage, of defying the nay-sayers and psychobabblists, and actually discovering "joy" in such a relationship after all. What if?
My attractions, my being gay, will not change. I'm thrilled with that! I don't want them to change! I love discovering and enjoying this realization and magic of these attractions. They are what they are and I am what I am and I am loving being who I am.
My affection and love for my wife and family will not change. I'm thrilled with that! I don't want these affections to change!
I guess that pretty much sums it up... I'm a freakin' freak of nature! And I'm PROUD of it!