Friday, July 27, 2007

I realize...

I was on another airplane yesterday, and found myself sitting next to a "co-worker" of mine that I didn't really know that well on a personal level. Since we were going to be seat-belted next to each other for the next 90 minutes, I wondered what we were going to talk about. I must say that in most flights, I usually don't say much to anyone, whether it is a total stranger or a good friend. But yesterday was different...

She asked me about my wife, and I started to tell her about her and all the amazing and wonderful things she does, and how free-spirited and full-of-life she is, and how difficult it is to stereotype her - you can't - she's too unique and has so many interests and so much fun and enthusiasm and dedication for her interests, that she's almost beyond description. She is definitely her own person who doesn't worry ever about what others think or whether "this" or "that" would be a good impression on others or be approved by "them". She just does what comes naturally and it is actually very refreshing.

Why I mention this at all (for I typically don't talk about my wife in my Blog - you don't know her as I've kept her from you, the reader, in maybe some kind of subconscious protective way - I don't know why... but there's a time and space for everything and my Blog hasn't been about her except when it's centered on what I am doing to her with the choices I make, the pain I cause, etc.) is that before I knew it, we had landed and I realized that I had spent the entire flight going on and on and on sharing amazing things about my wife and how unique and full of life and genuine she is, and I did this to an "almost stranger" and at the end she said to me "You must really love her!".

I don't know why, but it really struck me funny. It was like a wake-up call, or a slap in the face... I mean, of course I love her! I've been married to her for 26 years, right? There's got to be some kind of love through it all!

But it's been such a really long time since I've seriously shared with someone in an open dialogue the incredible stories about my wife in a flowing stream of consciousness, (since a lot of the time, I'm obsessed with my own problems and situations and feelings and loneliness and being wigged out by amazingly beautiful men etc. that for the most part I keep bottled up inside - but since they are inside and fighting for space to breathe and move, it's hard to get any other thoughts and feelings and streams of consciousness to be expressed - do you know what I'm saying here?) that I realize...

I really do love her!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I'm okay with that...

Following the example of Abelard, I have taken a break from blogging for a bit. Of course, being out of town on business a lot and then being back and buried in work certainly helps, but sitting back occasionally helps. And, I made it two weeks without blogging!

In that two weeks a few simple things happened:

1. I met two more bloggers of the "community" in person. That now makes four! The first meeting I had was scary (I was unsure of what to expect), but it ended up very positive and very uplifting. The second was unnerving but ended in a sense of good friendship, and the third and fourth of a couple weeks ago, were just a lot of fun! I never planned on meeting anyone when I started blogging - it wasn't my motivation at all, but as time as gone by, I can honestly say that I have made friendships that I never would have imagined. Thanks to everyone I've met and for your honesty and genuineness and becoming very "real" to me. Thank you SG, Kengo, AtP and Samantha, for accepting me for who I am, warts and all. I've concluded that this community is filled with astounding individuals, real folks trying to do their best in their lives. I feel very fortunate to come to "know" such great people... I'm more than "okay" with that...

2. I've been back East on business - it was definitely not a trip of pleasure, but still when my flight was delayed, I found out in time and was able to spend a couple of hours driving the coast of the Atlantic Ocean and just vegetating a bit and thinking about things. I found a great 3 mile long sandy beach that in that whole stretch I saw only a handful of people - and this in the shadow of 20 million people of the Mid-Atlantic coast. It was very peaceful, particularly after a stressful set of meetings. I was definitely okay with that...

3. Along the beach, I was thinking how "okay" I was with things and not wigged out much lately from my attraction issues. There was a sense of calm... About when I thought such thoughts, two extremely gorgeous male shirtless joggers, dashed by, their taut and amazingly golden lean muscles glistening in the sun. Three things happened - 1) I turned my head and totally admired their beauty and radiance and I audibly said "WOW!" 2) I turned my head and totally admired their beauty, recognizing that I am still alive, human, and very much attracted to the male persuasion, but I was "okay" with it. And 3) I got wigged out for maybe a few seconds, but I didn't start chasing them with my camera, trying to catch a photo of them, or dashing to my car to catch up to them to catch another "look", nor did I get freaked out at myself for enjoying the scenery. I did enjoy it and that was that. It was good, but not freaky in beating up on myself for enjoying it... Does this make sense?

4. I went to the 24th of July Neighborhood Breakfast on Tuesday and it was uneventful... This is the 1 year anniversary of my "broken ribs" incident where Tim hugged me so tight, picking me up from behind and twisting me to the ground, squeezing the life out of me to where a couple of my ribs "popped" (I blogged about this a year ago)... but not this year. He's not around and I'm okay with that. Distance has been good for both of us and I'm doing better in now passing days, even a week at a time without thinking about him... Yes, this is a good thing. And it frees me up to think more about my family, my wife, my kids. I still Love Tim very much, and that Love is not diminishing with time or distance at all, but it is being framed with time and distance into a more proper relationship - one of a dear friendship and nothing more. NOTE: Now all of this may change when I see him again in about six weeks, but for now, this is how I feel, and I'm okay with it.

Nothing spectacular... just life... I'm still as gay as ever... but I'm okay with that.
P.S. As I re-read this post, I wonder whether I'm trying to convince myself that I'm okay with things, or am I really okay??? And, since I'm asking the question in the first place, then does that imply that I'm really NOT okay??? Of course, who of us is really okay???

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Can you tolerate another list of 8 random items?

Though I was one of the first to be tagged by John G-W who started this whole thing, I seem to be one of the last to reply to his pass-along game. The delay in response is due more to the personal "crisi" I was in at the time than in not wanting to be a good sport. However, I am responding, not because I like these things (I don't!), but because I like him!

By now, everyone knows the rules... so here you go, John:

1. My grandmother's grandmother was an indentured servant in 1840s England, left orphaned to pay the debts of her parents who were banished from England forever and sent by ship to Australia as convicts. Her father's crime? Stealing bread. Her mother's crime? Eating the stolen goods! (Can anyone say "Les Miserables"?) Thus, to this day I have a rebellious yet survivor spirit...

2. My mom was a convert to the Church in the southern states during WWII. During those days, missions were disbanded and she was fellowshipped by ROTC boys from SLC. She was the first of her family to join the Church, a major step away from the traditions of her fathers. She taught me through her example and testimony. I have gained a spiritual sensitivity and an independent spirit from my mother...

3. I am an eagle scout though I did it out of obligation to my parents verses my personal quest. It was something that I was 'supposed to do', so I did it. I hated the program and everything associated with YM. Somehow, I gained a testimony of the gospel despite the abuse and harassment of the "priesthood" programs. To this day I have a distaste for scouting, but have become a huge fan of the Young Men's program and the miracles that can occur as one assists in the opening of the eyes of a youth to his spiritual potential. I've re-experienced the joys of "priesthood" programs as an adult, having served for years as a YM leader. I still have an intense sense of duty...

4. I love to travel and to discover new people, new places, new cultures, new languages and new foods. I have explored all 50 states but 1 (Alaska - and it's on the docket for next years) and much of Europe and some of Asia. I have a special affinity for Italy, Southern France, and India. I love to take photos. I feel naked without my camera. If I could figure out how to combine travel and photography and make a living supporting my family in the ways of which they are accustomed to live, I'd do it in an instance. I have an incurable disease called wanderlust...

5. I hate heights. I'm scared to death of high places, though as I get older, I'm getting better. I've been stuck on a 6" wide ledge at Lake Powell on a shear cliff some 50 feet above the water and couldn't move forward or backward and refused to jump into the water despite all the encouragement of my friends. I haven't been completely terrified to the point of immobility very often, but this was one of those times. It's funny though, I'm a sucker for a great view, an expansive vista, or especially an amazing sunset - and when it takes climbing a mountain precipice, scaling the steps of the Leaning Tower of Pisa (with no railings) or hanging over the railing at the top of the Empire State Building for that "perfect views", my acrophobia vanishes. I am conflicted and inconsistent in many things...

6. I get motion sickness very easily. I can't dance the polka or tolerate any kind of spinning. I think I was the only kid that HATED the merry-go-round. I hate amusement parks as most rides have been designed for the explicit purpose of making me turn shades of green that are beyond the natural color spectrum of skin. As much as I travel, I still get air sick, and let's don't even talk about boats! I like to be well anchored...

7. I like to create environments. I used to spend hours in my basement planning cities, laying out streets and villages, designing mansions. My communities would encompass the entire house and flow out into the back yard (I had a very tolerant mother - but my father thought I was nuts, wondering - why wouldn't I rather go play ball with the rest of the boys?) In real life, I have master planned "award winning" communities and designed buildings in over 15 states, including California, North Carolina, and New Jersey. I have an engineering degree with emphasis in structures and am fascinated with the beauty of structural form. Though I see beauty in the structures of the Spaghetti Bowl (freeway interchange of I-15 and I-80) in the photo that I took above, I don't consider that a "creative environment" (especially in bumper-to-bumper rush hour) though it encompasses my love of photography, a great view, a strong sense of structure and form, a hatred of heights (I was in a two-seater plane at the time), and I dare say I spend more time in my life on I-15 than I would like to admit). But my true love is architecture and the artistic magic of contextualism. I've been known to say: "Architecture, without passion, is just engineering!" I have a passionate spirit...

8. I hate playing any kind of sport that makes me hold, touch or associate myself with a ball. Balls make me break out in hives! Little league baseball was absolute torture! I was too wussy for football, and too uncoordinated to make a simple layup in basketball (I never could figure out with which leg I jumped, while holding the ball in which hand and aiming for what corner of the backboard?) . I hate running (flat feet = no shock absorption). Yet, I love to hike (especially with the reward of a good view - see item 5 above), bike (as long as it's relatively flat, or better yet - coasting downhill!), camp (with a decent air mattress), swim (I love the backstroke), snorkel (especially in Hawaii), and be in the outdoors. I feel peace when I'm in or around nature...

There you have it!

Since every blogger I know is tagged, I won't try to tag you. But, if you aren't tagged or don't feel that you are tagged, then consider yourself tagged.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Feeling very envious II...

So I ask myself some tough questions about why I am committed to my marriage and making it be strong and solid, and yet, could still turn around and look over my shoulder and desire what I've refused to embrace and have left behind years ago at the risk of becoming that proverbial "pillar of salt", and all I get are more questions running through my head...

As I commented to myself in response to J G-W, I am committed to my marriage and find myself not willing to leave or abandon this wonderful and sacred relationship. But, am I committed to my marriage because...

1. I have no other choice? If I were presented with another choice, a truly viable option of a wonderful and sacred and committed guy, would I immediately abandon ship to be with him? And am I not making such a choice because there is no real guy out there? But if there were, other than in a fantasy setting, would I do it? Would I leave it all for Mr. Right? I mean, really, am I in this marriage because I have no other real alternative?

2. I am lonely and so afraid to be totally alone? Is her companionship better than no companionship at all? Am I staying married because I enjoy her company, our friendship, our love of learning and exploring and creating and discovering new and amazing things? Or am I married because I really fear loneliness?

3. I have a sure thing in my hand and I don't want to risk losing it? I am married and have a great family with super kids and a beautiful home and environment within which we live. Am I married because I don't want to give that up, because I know it is real and here and now and the other is just a "possibility", but not reality?

4. I am fearful of the future, including my eternal future and consequences if I really abandon my responsibility and sacred covenants regarding my wife and children? Is this really just fear of justice verses mercy? Is there damnation in my future of a telestial nature for not staying committed? Is it just fear of being damned?

5. I am fully vested in her, in our life together, in our intertwined relationship of our physical, mental, spiritual, emotional worlds we've created for each other? Is there so much invested that it is just too foolish to walk away from it all?

6. I am comfortable and safe where I am, and unwilling to risk that comfort and safety for the unknown? Am I really just too comfortable with my life and the social and cultural and economical advantages of comfort and safety within the community and world status to give it up or trade it in on a guy?

7. I am spiritually connected to her, with a personal testimony and witness of the Holy Ghost that gives me assurance that this is right and good and true and real and to hold on to for no other reason than that spiritual conviction? Could I feel that way about another man just as well?

8. I love her... simply that... because I love her? And because I need her in my life? Is there such a love that describes this complex relationship and bonding we've developed, despite my gay longings?

So, with all of this self-purging, then why do I still feel like I want to at least "know" what it feels like to have a man love me? Why is this still important after all these years? Why is there still this longing? I mean, as I said, is it more just feeling regret for having married so young and never having explored these feelings when I was younger and available? Am I still coveting the green grass on the other side of the fence because I'm not completely satisfied with the just as green (though I can't see it) grass right under my feet? Am I just wanting to sin, just bite the fruit and get it over with, in order to obtain knowledge? Am I regretting that I'll never know the meaning of these urges, these desires, these attractions and why they exist in the first place?

Why can I not seal my heart to hers? Why can I not make this decision, this choice once and for all? Why do I have to keep revisiting it over and over and over again? Why can I not just be hers? Why is there something still missing? Why is this so hard? Why do I just want to give up?

With all of my wonderful and amazing blessings that come from being married to a saintly and gifted woman, with my astounding children, with the experiences of joy and sorrow, of love and pain, why do I still want more?

I truly am a wretch...

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Feeling very envious...

I met up with a dear friend this week and I've done nothing but think about our conversation since then. He is an "old" friend - I've known him now over ten years, though we don't see each other very often anymore. He contacted me out of the blue and we connected soon after for lunch.

He looked great! I was worried about him, because the last time we saw each other, he wasn't doing very well. You see, he's gay, too. In fact, a couple of years ago, we both came to terms with this fact in both of our lives at about the same time and over the course of several heart-to-heart conversations, and we both "came out" to each other. This confidential revelation has bound us together in a unique way, even if we don't see each other as frequently as we did or as we would like.

Our paths have not paralleled since "coming out" to each other. I have gone through a self-loathing and self-accepting process, while trying to keep my family together and marriage solid. He has started into the exciting and anxious world of gay-dating, ending with boyfriend relationships! And I can see that he's loving this path of discovery he's on. His personal dating standards, as misunderstood in the community-at-large view of things, involve the same "moral standards" of any other returned missionary dating scene (hand-holding / kissing / cuddling and the like, but not a lot more). He has established his own self-discipline regarding the church (kissing boys = not worthy to attend the temple) and has maintained a rigid sense of his personal morality (if you're not going to be committed to me in a long term deal, then why should I give you any of my goods?) limits. I admire him so much for this and for his strength and happiness in his quest. I wish him all the happiness and peace he can find... and I'd rather him be happy and wanting to live, verses miserable and wanting to end it all.

In fact, I find myself envious of his quest, of finding that moral and dedicated guy who will honor and be completely faithful and devoted to him. I've been pondering about my own path and how I haven't gone down this road my friend has chosen and I wonder, yes, I still stop and wonder, what would it be like to be "out there" searching for the right guy. (NOTE: The dating scene terrified me the first go around in the heterosexual world - I don't know that I could handle it again in the homosexual world!) In my situation, particularly when I'm not that "hot" of a catch being a middle-aged average guy (though I try desperately to disguise the fact to no avail but my own deception), would there be such a guy for me?

Is there such a guy waiting for me?

Now before you slap me in the head... I know I need to be reminded of the great partnership I do have with my wife, the family and home we've created for ourselves and our kids and the relative peace, blessings and good times had together... but, I have to wonder, as I look back, what it would have been like if all this wasn't there around me and in front of me, the commitments and covenants already made, the lives affected by my being together forever with them, what if life did happen differently? What if I were younger and more "available"? And what if I were to have come "out" earlier in my life instead of so late as I did? What then? Would I have chosen any different path than my friend?

I doubt it...

And so, here I am, feeling a bit down, feeling a bit like life has passed me by... feeling a bit envious of the "what ifs" of life, and seeing the choices that others around me are making. I'm not anticipating any change in my chosen course. I feel spiritually anchored and connected with what I should do and that this is the right course for me despite my feeling very alone in this choice, but - I ask myself: Why do I feel so "skipped over" or "not included" in life? Why do I somehow feel "jipped", robbed of missed opportunities?

I know those are rotten things to say, but for today, a day that I am feeling VERY GAY, they are my true feelings.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

In God is our trust...

Over the last few days I've had the chance to participate in commemorative services reflecting on this nation. On two occasions, (one at a patriotic concert of All-American composers, and the other at Sacrament Meeting last Sunday) the audience stood and sang all verses of The Star-Spangled Banner. Now, I like many have problems singing the anthem as it is because it's range is well beyond my meager singing abilities and the lyrics don't always match up well with the notes, if you know what I mean...


I don't know what it is about the last verse, but every time I hear it sung or sing it, my voice starts trembling and I break up like a blubbering little baby and tears flow from my eyes... and I don't even know why. I looked around the audiences both times and I seemed to be the only one crying. What's wrong with me? Am I being overly sensitive? Is this a spiritual thing? Have I been duped by inculcated teachings of fabricated patriotism?

Oh, thus be it ever, when free men shall stand

Between their loved homes and the war's desolation!

Blest with victory and peace may the heaven rescued land

Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!

Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,

And this be our motto: "In God is our trust!"

And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave

O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

I'm not very political and tend to keep such feelings to myself, but I ask that we pause for a moment and contemplate the words and meaning of this last verse! For whatever reason, I feel a great power and strength from these words.

Happy Independence Day!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

A trail without a guidebook...

I have commiserated with several of you, some personally, and others through this blog or emails, how I feel very alone and confused in this path I have chosen for my life. Though I know I am not alone, that there are many others like me out there - there must be - and though I find a great sense of community of support from this amazing community of bloggers in this corner of the queerosphere, I still find myself very lonely and confused just the same.

There isn't a priesthood lesson on "how to talk to your wife about being gay", or a Sunday School manual that addresses "how to understand that being attracted to young adult men is totally natural".... etc. There isn't even a book on tape from good ol' Deseret Book that shows us "how to make a mixed-oriented marriage work in ten easy steps".

No... and there aren't obvious examples of those before me on this "path I've taken" who can show me the way and demonstrate that it's possible - that this path actually leads to a wonderful place of breathtaking beauty, as the waterfall in the photo I took above that I found almost by accident unexpectedly.

When I was on my tropical island Paradise a couple of weeks ago, I took many hikes through jungles. Some hikes were well traveled and obviously marked with a well-trodden path that led to the appointed destination, and many there were who found themselves on this same journey. There were other trails that I took from a wonderfully accurate and detailed guidebook of "lesser known paths" where jungle growth enthusiastically tried its best to cover the tracks of the few who found out its secrets. These trails, not marked at all, but nevertheless there for the taking - if you knew from where to look and follow the signs - led to even more incredibly amazing vistas and beaches, waterfalls and bathing pools, volcanic cliffs and fishing holes. But to find such trails, you needed the "guidebook".

In my personal trail as a very gay and yet very married and active, believing and participating member of the church, I still haven't found that "guidebook" and yet, here I find myself on the path just the same. This path is at times completely thick and obscured by tropical growth and I can't see which way to go. And so I get lost.

Why does it have to be this way? Why is there not someone before me showing me the "ten steps of how it's supposed to be done". Where are all the other very gay and yet very married and active, believing and participating members of the Church who already know those ten steps? Why do I feel so alone in this process? I know there are traps out there, thickets and thorns, cliffs and slippery slopes. But where's the trail marker? Where's the rod to hold onto?

I gave a lesson today about Lehi's dream. We know the Rod is strong and iron and immovable and that it is WE who let go and move away from the Rod that we become lost and lose our grasp. The rod didn't move! The rod is still there! But even the "word of God", as strong and iron-clad and immovable as it is, is still pretty amazingly silent on my needs for an example and guide through this personal "mist of darkness" I'm going through in this life as a gay man... (Now if there aren't enough mixed metaphors for you in this last paragraph I don't know where you'll find more :))

It's pretty lonely out there... I feel at times that there isn't anyone - at least among my immediate friends, family, associates, clients, neighbors etc. that I know who have gone down this path I find myself on. I don't know whether this path is destined to lead me to a dead end where I cannot go forward, nor go back. I don't know whether it will lead me on a journey to a cliff upon which the only way to go forward is to jump. I do know that I have the spirit, the Holy Ghost, who rarely, but occasionally prompts me in unquestionable nudges forward. I forget his spiritual teachings and promptings most of the time, as I prefer to do this journey "on my own", but when I do find myself listening, and on occasion being pricked in an unmistakable way, I REMEMBER who I am and why I've chosen this path in the first place... I just wish it didn't need to be so quiet and lonely most of the time...

On that note, I feel impressed to introduce to any of you two or three readers that follow along with my blog, an amazing and inspiring individual who is also on a very unique and lonely path of his own as a gay partnered man striving to find spiritual sanctuary within the LDS church as an excommunicated man. His path is not my path, and I guarantee there isn't a guidebook written for him either on his trail, but his story is such a revelation of hope to me. I hope to all of you... Please meet John Gustav-Wrathall at (If I knew how to make a link within my text I would, but since I'm a technologically challenged ninny, you'll either have to go to my links in my sidebar or type it in yourself in your search engine). I don't think you'll be disappointed and I urge you to welcome him into this "community of saints" (in the fullest and broadest sense that those words mean of us gay men and women being guidebooks of support for each other, helping each other along this path called life).