Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Within the shadows of my everlasting closet...


I'm a hypocrite.


That is all there is to it.


I'm a big fat, scared and afraid hypocrite!


That is what we all "closet dwellers" are. We are afraid of being found out for who we really are. We are ashamed and cowardly and weak. We rarely stand up for our gay brothers and sisters (except under the veil of anonymity) because we feel guilty for doing so; we feel that somehow associating with "them" will make others feel less of us or question the facade of who we have pretended to be, that somehow we may be considered one of "them" as well...


Why else am I so worried about the wrath of others and how their homophobic beliefs may reflect on me? What a selfish attitude... No wonder the "out" brethren are so disgusted with my type...


What am I so afraid of?


I pretend to be somebody I'm not. I've done this all my life. I'm not as strong as I think I am. I am weak and cowardly and I allow my fears to control my actions. As much as I think I am "out" and "free-thinking" and "open" to love with no judgment, not prejudice, no shame... I really am not, as long as I do so within the shadows of my everlasting closet.


I have been carefully taught to be self-righteous, to be homophobic, to be unkind to those who are "different" than "US". What a wonderful mess this has turned out to be... There is so much more to work on here than just "accepting" the fact I'm gay. Sure, that was a first step, and I've become comfortable in that place (even though the Brethren say I shouldn't feel so comfortable), but there is so much more to learn about love and acceptance and Christlike attitudes toward ALL...


As was articulated by Parallel, when I came "out" to my wife, all I did was bring her in to my closet and doom her to my world of secrecy, shame and fear.


As Beck, be it on these electronic pages or in the flesh, I am under some facade of being "liberated" and "out" and non-judgmental and without prejudice, but in reality, this blog world is a facade as well... this whole life is a facade... I'm a joke. As long as I cannot be ONE with who I really am and truly LOVE myself and ALL others, then "Beck" is just as much a hypocrite and facade as the closet-dwelling me over there cowering in the shadows under the long trench coat... who thinks he can't be seen, though in reality his closet is as thin and see-through as a white veil.

12 comments:

RealNeal said...

Whoa, Cowboy!! You're being pretty hard on yourself, don't ya think?!

We're all hypocrites, my friend - gay or straight. All of us "have sinned, and come short of the glory of God". There are good reasons for the closet at times. Very good reasons. I think there's a difference in being prudent who you share information with and being in the closet. That can be a fine line, but one that makes a huge difference. Once the "genie" is out of the bottle, so to speak, it can't be put back!

I think the Church is in its
"infancy" when it comes to this issue. The attitudes of the membership have not matured yet. Getting better, but not there yet. As it says in the scriptures, you may have to give them milk before they can take meat.

Regards,

Neal

Abelard Enigma said...

Did somebody get up on the wrong side of the bed this morning? You're being awfully hard on yourself.

I share your frustration with being in the closet. But, when you are married and have children - coming 'out' becomes much more difficult. Not only do we have to overcome our own fears; but, we also have to consider the thoughts and fears of our spouse and loved ones. I know for me personally, even if I were ready to walk around wearing a rainbow tie - my wife isn't. I dragged her into my closet; and, when we come out, we need to come out together.

In fact, before you can come out of the closet, you probably need to bring your children into your closet. And, later, when you are ready, you come out as a family!

Scot said...

No wonder the "out" brethren are so disgusted with my type...

Who’s disgusted?! I want names!

I agree with Neal there. Almost every gay man has hid their true self, made compromises, and let fear rule them at some point. No one I know would blame you for not choosing to pick up such a public fight. There are reasonable reasons to be afraid, and, while I think they should be overcome, that task is not trivial.

MoHoHawaii said...

Some people need, for various personal or family reasons, to stay in the closet. No one will judge you for staying in the closet.

What gripes me is when people appear willing to benefit from the changing social attitudes (including attitudes within the church) made possible by the courage of openly gay folks while at the same time castigating these pioneers as apostates and selfish pleasure seekers.

Beck, I know you don't do this. Your posts are always very inclusive. I just had to rant.

My advice to Mohos is this: come out if you can. Coming out is a powerful agent of change for social attitudes. We need to do this. (Normally this is more possible for younger people than older folks.)

Beck said...

Okay.... I woke up on the wrong side of the bed... I haven't got much done at all today as I should have... this is going to be okay. I appreciate your comments and confirmation that we all have our reasons for being who we are and doing the best we can, etc...

NEAL: Thanks for keeping me from going off the deep end. I just don't like the inconsistencies in my life and sometimes (always) I use this blog to get it out so that I don't do something stupid otherwise... But know that I am not happy with hiding, but I see the reasons why I do and they are good and real and need to be considered and are valid and that validity doesn't necessarily make me a hypocrite, even if, when I get all drama-queen-like, I feel very hypocritical in the life I'm living.

ABE: Thanks for reminding me of the next step... my kids... I am not able to even begin to face them with this right now. The teenage problems and issues they have need to be dealt with more than them dealing with their Dad's issues. I don't need to burden them right now with this. They have serious issues and I need to be as stable as possible... No pressure here!

SCOT: You're right... I'm spitting out generalities. I don't have anyone specifically calling me a hypocrite for being in the closet... I just feel that way. Thank you for your checking in again and tossing in your two cents. I appreciate it more than you know. I have always felt included by you and others and I hope you have always felt loved and included from my side. I respect you and honor you for your commitments and family values you demonstrate in the most amazingly beautiful ways. Thanks for seeing through my occasional angst and seeing the non-trivial seriousness that this is to me.

MOHOH: I know as much as I hate to admit it, I'm one of the "older guys" and this ain't easy... way too many responsibilities, complications and family commitments involved here... I appreciate your encouragement and support.

Parallel Mormon said...

Beck,

I share your feelings. The weekend was particularly hard for me as I battled the same sentiments. Let me say, though, that you are a powerful man. I believe there is a purpose for our earthly experience, and the Church is in its infancy with regards to treating SSA.

Compare President Kimball's description of homosexual acts as repugnant, gays as the product of domineering mothers and weak fathers, gays as hedonists who chose this aberration. Compare his language to the recent talk by Elder Holland, one filled with love and a sincere desire to understand as well as a humble acknowledgement of not having all the answers. Even still, there was one glaring omission in his talk, not a mean-spirited one, but it shows we're only now starting to address the issue. I quote: "I’d begin by recognizing the courage that brought your son, daughter, sibling, or friend to you." Catch it? No mention of husband or wife. Perhaps a spouse is implicit in friend, but the talk did not address married Gay Mormons. Still, I offer this not as a criticism, only as an illustration that the time is not right for all to come out.

I fear that I stand to loose a lot in the Church by way of fellowship, callings and credibility by coming out. I realize that these are the words of a coward, but we're all blazing trails. I would never beat you down, brother, I care for you too much. Please don't be so hard on yourself. Beck is a powerful man of hope and positive direction for many people, and Beck is real because he is a true expression of you.

Beck said...

Parallel:

Thank you for coming to my site and commenting. You story is fantastic... I am mesmerized by your recent experiences with your wife and am excited for the possibilities before you as you go hand-in-hand together.

You are right that it is odd that the Church once encouraged men like us to marry. I know I was totally told there was no other option. And now that advice is oddly gone (rightfully so in many respects) but still, what has happened to those that were advised to marry some twenty or thirty years ago??? What are we supposed to do?

We have become invisible. We do not exist. And that is why we are on our own to do the best we can with what we have been given... and we truly have been given great companions who still love us and want to be with us BECAUSE of who we are.

Even though she's in the closet with me, I cherish the companionship of a help-meet.

I need your confidence in me. Sometimes I feel like such a screwed-up mess. Thanks for being there and joining the "family".

RealNeal said...

Parallel:

Great post! I think the omission about a spouse was an innocent one. But I agree, it reflects the naivety of the Church on this issue. I love it that they're trying, though!

Beck:

Love ya man! Hang in there. You're farther along than you give yourself credit for.

Neal

J G-W said...

Beck, you know how I feel about you. Others have already said everything that needs to be said so much better than I could.

Itsy bitsy steps are all right. We love you.

GeckoMan said...

"What am I so afraid of?" Good question, Beck. I'm not sure, and I'll never know until I take a leap of faith as irretractable as an amputation.

I have feelings and desires of joining my two worlds as well. As I've considered the possibility of moving with a new job, I've thought of the young men I love and serve at church and somehow want them to know that "gay" is not synonymous with "bad, perverted or evil." Occasionally I hear them make derogatory remarks about something 'being gay', and I pain at the thought of how homophobic their young attitudes are. . . "if only they knew!" I tell myself. I'd like them to appreciate that there is more than one way to look at a person and at relationships. Then again, I don't want to be defined or remembered as 'that gay guy.' And what if I didn't move, would I be courageous enough to come out and deal with ongoing repercussions?

I'm really not sure how a coming out would be endorsed by my good friend and Bishop, who is open and loving with me, but still rather conservative in most outlooks. I think both he and my wife would be very uncomfortable at the prospect of a "oh BTW, I'm gay, so what do you guys think now?" conversation with the Priest's Quorum one Sunday morning.

I feel like the work and thought I have yet to do is figuring out what the positive and stereotypical aspects are to being gay that are other than sexual. When the time comes to make my leap of faith, can I point to a reasonable base of qualities or attributes that relate to my person and character, which are part of my identity as a gay man? Why should I allow others to define gay simply as a sexual deviation? There is so much more to our whole being than our attractions, which in and of themselves may be the by-product of the complex set of wiring we seem to think we have.

Forester said...

Afraid, yes, but hypocrite, no. You are very true to yourself and others, more than most in fact. I don't believe you need to come out in order to educate and help others. For all the praise coming out receives, I think there should be equal praise for living in the closet.

Ron Schow said...

Beck,

All the thoughts above are very interesting and hopefully comforting to you. I have only one thing to add. "Do nothing in haste." Take plenty of time to think through your options and pray about them.

Also,I have one more thought to share with you if you wish. Write me at schorona@isu.edu