Thursday, May 31, 2007

Fences, boundaries, borders and limits...

I've been thinking a lot about boundaries or borders... There is a lot of discussion about the country's borders, and the safety thereof, and whether a fence needs to be built, or whether increased security needs to be provided, or whether they should be open. It is for our "protection", for the "good" of the nation. In Europe pre-EU, there were border checks, passport reviews, visual inspections at each country crossing. It seemed very tedious and frivolous, but at least you "knew" when you crossed into a new country. When we crossed once from the communist Yugoslavia into Italy, or from Italy to Yugoslavia, it was a big deal... car searches, soldiers with machine guns, German Shepard dogs sniffing around, detailed passport scrutiny, questions of why we're in the country in the first place, etc. Recently crossing on the autostrada between France and Italy along the Riviera was like crossing from Utah into Idaho... you may note the small road sign or you may not and if you missed it, you may not even know what side of the line you're on.

My mind has thought a lot about other kinds of borders in my life. We recently constructed a fence around our property to keep our dog "in" and other dogs "out". We put our rabbits in cages to "keep them safe" from the raccoons.
My wife and I put "limits" on our teenage children... when they can drive the car, who they are dating, when to date or just "hang out", curfew times, etc.

Covenants and commandment-keeping are a form of borders or boundaries. In the temple, we learn to keep things "within the boundaries the Lord has set". The garment and the proper wearing of the garment is established as a "shield and a protection".

And what I'm wrestling with currently are my personal, self-imposed boundaries - those things which I have chosen of my own free will to abide by, because I have determined if doing so, I will be better off. Sometimes, in certain situations, such as on a couch in the arms of a dear friend, kissing him, I become deaf to my self-imposed warning signs, and blind to the edge of my self-determined cliff, and everything is fuzzy and unclear...

What is the point of having such limits, or boundaries, government imposed, religion-imposed, parental-imposed, or personally imposed? "Total freedom! No borders!" some say. And yet, is there safety, security, well-being, even "freedom" with such imposed borders on our life activities? Should we place limits on ourselves?

Ironically, I taught a SS lesson last week on being a "covenant-keeping people". I smirk at myself in seeing the discrepancy between what I taught verses my personal actions recently. I was encouraging less-active, and newly baptized members to learn the basic principle of the Gospel that being obedient to our covenants brings us the most happiness and freedom we can imagine. But then, a few hours later, in the arms of someone I "truly love" and have attached this "romantic aura" to our relationship (because I so desperately want it to be so in that moment), I forget all about my personally self-imposed limits, my God-given and received covenants of baptism, endowment and celestial marriage, and am willing to be caught up in just stealing that one brief moment of passion with another man... At that moment I was...

These hormones are gloriously amazing things! And being a virgin gay-adolescent complicates it even more! MOHO Hawaii was right when he said that guys like me are truly "adolescent" in the spectrum of our gay attractions...

A kind and very wise friend emailed me the following wake-up advice about my current "situation":

Two things to think about--First, if you allow yourself to let your friendship to become sexual, given the age difference and your knowledge about your friend's personal/spiritual life, you are probably abusing his trust. He isn't far from your eldest daughter's age. Consider your feelings if another person, your age, female or male, whom she deeply loved and trusted, allowed or even encouraged a physical relationship with her. Then use that perspective in your interactions with your friend. He loves you. He trusts you. Betraying that trust, even if it seems implied that he wishes it, shows that you're not worthy of such love and trust. If you wish to pursue that relationship, you should consider being released from the covenants and promises you've made to another person who loves and trusts you which brings me to the second thing--you've made covenants--and so has he. You both renew them each Sabbath. If you follow your current desires and line of thinking, you will be a party to his breaking of those covenants, knowingly so, and he will be a party to the breaking of your covenants. That's an awful responsibility, and at some point, knowing that you have done that will come between you as a trust issue. If you cannot be trusted to keep the sacred covenants that you've made to God, how can you be trusted to be faithful in a human-made relationship? The bottom line--you can't.

It's all about trust and love in the end. Yours for your wife, for your friend, for God, and for yourself. Interesting how the Lord allows us to encounter circumstances where we must find out if we can be trusted in any situation, and how, regardless of the outcome, he loves us still. Always.

There are good reasons for fences and boundaries, God-imposed, self-imposed or otherwise... If I can just keep that in mind when I see "him" and get all wiggly inside... I know his and my relationship will be better!
I'm such a gay-adolescent fool! But I'm trying to learn! As the saying goes: "Better late than never," right?

Monday, May 28, 2007

Still here...but feeling wigged-out!

I'm still discouraged, confused, befuddled... This has been a tough period. I'm still not happy with myself or where I'm going, or why I'm still blogging...


A week or so ago, Will came into my office unannounced. I was buried in work. Though I was happy to see him after several months, I didn't have time for him. We hugged, and I didn't feel the vibes from him like before. That was a "good sign" I thought. The time apart was working it's magic and we were moving on in our respective lives. I told him "I don't have time to talk right now", and I promised I'd get back with him... but I didn't. Road trips and life got in the way and now he's gone for the summer at a job away from here. I feel bad. I've never, ever done this before. When he's wanted to talk - I've been there for him. He's been there for me. But that opportunity to reconnect slipped through our hands and I allowed it to happen - and I feel guilty.

Fast forward to yesterday:

I thought I wouldn't see Tim again until the end of the summer. But there he was sitting in Sacrament Meeting with his mom, smiling his usual smile that makes me all wiggly inside. I couldn't figure out why he had come home. We have this continuing very weird relationship where I've told him he can't come by the house (I need to tell Will this as well) - so we meet in church - in public - in front of anyone's view - if only they knew what they were viewing.

After the meetings, I had to meet with the Bishop on a matter and the YM president on another matter regarding my son. My family went home in the other car. He waited. I took care of my church business as most everyone else left for the day. And he waited - for me - for us to have a chance to be together again.

This sounds all so goofy. I didn't plan any of this. After our very long and heart-felt full-body embrace (that we've come to expect of each other), Tim told me to sit on the couch there in the foyer. So, against my better judgment, worrying what others might think, wondering if my wife really did go home in the other car, he began sharing with me very personal feelings and thoughts and concerns about his life, about his future, about his prospects of marriage, etc. He was emotional and distraught. There was, without a doubt, a spiritual connection. As we spoke I couldn't help myself as I began rubbing his arm and then his leg. He didn't pull away from me. He never does. He returned to gesture as we spoke. In the end, we stood and hugged. I kissed him on the neck and told him I "loved" him. I then kissed him on his cheek and then his chin. He held me. He wasn't repulsed. There was no repulsive behavior here. We were two very dear friends having a special, non-sexual and spiritual connection - in the foyer of the Church in plain view of everyone.

We held each other for some time. I started getting really wiggly inside now. Triggers were going off all over the place... This was getting weird...

I then kissed him on the lips! I didn't care anymore. I wanted him and I felt in his loving way, he wanted me...

Okay... that last part about the lips-thing didn't happen. Got ya goin' though, right? :) But everything else did happen. And I'm all discombobulated. I can't think straight. I can't think about anything else. I know in one sense I have a horrible "crush" on him... I'm a happily married man with kids. I shouldn't be doing this. But, on the other hand, I didn't do anything but listen to a friend reveal his soul to me. What was I to do? He was obviously there to "meet me" and wanted very much to spend some personal time with me to discuss these things. Was I to say - "not now, not ever?" I couldn't do it. I didn't want to feel more guilt (thinking of my shrugging off Will's visit)... So I listened, and we touched, and we continued our weird multi-generational same-sex more-than-close-yet-hard-to-properly-describe friendship in the open before all that want to see and interpret what they will to see us.

Some may raise the appropriateness of this continuing relationship. I, for one, am first in line! My wife is second! So get behind us, okay? I beat myself over this! What am I thinking? I may not stop myself next time... I may really kiss him on the lips (because I'm finding myself thinking about it now for real) and then what? He has no clue of what's going on inside me. And that's not fair to him. I'm feeling things and he doesn't know. Or does he? How can he not by this point? But, the point is, I don't tell him that part of my wigging-out inside every time I'm near him, or that I catch myself "dreaming" about him, etc... It's wrong, it's icky... it's very inconvenient. But, this is getting close to the edge of me freakin' out. I do love him. Is that wrong? I want to help him, be there for him, continue our confidant relationship. But should I?

Should I even be blogging of such things? I am seriously considering deleting this post.

What is going on here? Why do I desire more? I posted on GIMBLE's blog recently about the need to cuddle and snuggle "in the open" and that touchy-feely guys are fine in showing affection - I encourage it openly!!! I've preached it from the pulpit and in the classroom and privately numerous times. It is a battle-cry, a personal mission of mine to break down these cultural barriers we have as men - where we cannot openly express our emotions, and touch each other, caressing each other's arms as we speak, or rubbing each other's legs, or embracing and kissing each other. Why not? I've been on a personal and solemn crusade of sorts since my mission to do just that! And I've helped many a straight guy come to terms with his emotions and feelings by teaching him to open up, to not be afraid, to cry, to hug, to touch, to be connected in very personal bonding ways. And I've seen miracles happen as this touching and embracing, this feeling and bonding has occurred. It has changed lives. The spirit has been there!

And yet, it has now led me to this? To feeling feelings I shouldn't be feeling? And doing so at Church? And behind my wife and kids' back?

In one way, I feel like I was there for a purpose to uniquely help him through this uniquely pressing time in his life. I did so in my unique touch-friendly way, and he has come to expect it and even request it, never pulling away from me, even encouraging me on... in his very loving and dear friendship way. But in another way, I feel as we continue, it will be harder to hold back, even in the foyer. Now it's getting weirder and weirder...


I've recently pulled back from my wife in these last few weeks, and she could feel me drifting. I didn't tell her about my encounter at church (dishonesty? or selective telling of the truth? she didn't ask why I was delayed coming home and I didn't volunteer - is that dishonest?) - I don't think she even saw him there. She wanted me close to her last night. The only way I could do "it" was with ill-placed thoughts - of him!

I feel so confused. The cycle continues. It doesn't get better. I don't change. This is the same story - I'm sure anyone who's read my sagas before are rolling their eyes in boring disgust and mumbling to themselves as they read this: "I can't believe he's doing it again!" - only I'm getting more and more connected into a cycle that may be spiraling out of control... This is getting weird, wrongfully weird.


My "interview" with L was published yesterday. I feel exposed and confused over that, too. Here I am revealing intimate details of my personal life in my own blog and I feel fairly okay with that - because that is what this blog is supposed to serve - an avenue for me to express these thoughts so that I can stay "true to the faith" and hopefully learn something and figure this whole thing out... But, with L publishing my "story" on NORTHERN LIGHTS makes me feel "out there" for all to view.

L referred to me being "real". I don't know what that really means. I mean, I am who I am... I tend to say it as I see it, as I feel it. I tend to show my blemishes and warts and all - in hopes that I can see through them and understand the next steps I should take, not necessarily the ones hormones are driving me to take.

This is who I am. I've accepted my attractions and temptations. I recognize them as part of me. I'm no longer confused by them being what they are. However, I'm a very confused and wigged-out soul right now.

Any advice before I go off the deep end?

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Where do I go from here?

I've been on the road again this week - and thus, my mood is sour and discouraging. I probably shouldn't blog in moods like this - but hey - what's the point of having a blog in the first place if you can't be sour and discouraged, right?

On the flight home, I got out a pad and started jotting down all the things I wanted to discuss in my blog and before I knew it, I had two pages of detailed outlines of subjects I want to explore and raise - for my benefit and hopefully for others. As I sat on the plane (on the back row where I couldn't even recline and the person in front of me reclining right into my tabletop - don't you hate that when that happens?), I thought about my blog and why I blog.

At first it was truly an exhilerating experience of "coming out" to myself and to an audience of understanding people who really did care and who were trying to understand where I was coming from and helping me to come to grips with my "gayness". It was exciting to finally "talk" with people who helped me to not hate myself for this and got me through a serious self-loathing phase of my life.

But now I've lost that excitement. I don't know what has changed. Maybe I'm just worn out. Maybe I've turned stale. Maybe there is nothing more to say. I began looking at my list I had made and realized I really didn't have the passion behind any of it. And so, I drew a big "X" through the pages and tossed the notepad back into my bag.

I couldn't figure out if I was blogging to be "valid" in front of others who may be reading it, or whether anything I said was worth commenting about, or whether I was blogging because I needed to express these feelings and thoughts where I have no other ocassion to epxress such feelings and thoughts. Am I trying to be "popular" and "liked" and "accepted" as who I am by those in this community who know this one carefully cloaked part of me? Or am I trying to accept myself and blog for reasons of finally recognized released repression?

When I returned to the computer after being gone this week, as I have been known to do, I checked out Abelard's blog and sure enough, as often is the case, he was blogging about similar feelings. He was asking whether to continue blogging or not. I facetiously answered... "Just quit blogging. That's what I'm contemplating doing".

This community is ever changing and evolving. There are some anchors of constancy (even though they profess to "keep changing") such as -L-, but I've seen many that began to help my self-acceptance in this awareness-lacking side of me, are now moving on or are at least less-active in the community (such as Gay Mormon, Hawaii Dave, Hurricane Chris, Enduring Eric) and more recently others choosing for their own particular and right reasons (such as Loyalist and Samantha) and even Elbow moving on to new and difficult challenges.

And so I contemplate if now is the time to "move on". But I ask myself: Move on to what? Where do I go from here? I don't know what to do next? I feel just as confused and lost in so many ways as when I began this stupid thing over a year ago!!! I feel as dishonest and unfaithful to those I love as I did before. I feel as attracted to guys as I have before - it hasn't dissipated. It hasn't changed. I'm still as conflicted as ever. Sure, I have more self-awareness, and more self-acceptance. But I'm still me. Nothing of significance has truly changed. So, where do I go? What do I do from here?

I'm discouraged at the lack of my progress. I'm discouraged at my lack of integrity. I'm discouraged at my continual dishonesty.

I'm discouraged...

Monday, May 14, 2007

Just prick my soul...

As much as I complain about my Priesthood Quorum and the associations with the "nearly dead", occasionally there are gems of truth that jump out at me, slap me up the side of the head, and just prick my soul in a unique way.

Here's yesterday's:

"... you don't have to be good, you just have to be available..."

In the context given I interpreted that as meaning:

"... we don't have to be the best, we don't have to be perfect in all that we do, we must instead by open to the spirit and be willing to do the Lord's will and serve in ways that he would have us do - being available to him - and who knows the potential of what can happen from there, helping us to be more fully developed..."

I like that. Maybe these old buggers know more than I think they do.

Or, in the context of this blog...

"... we don't have to be perfect in managing and dealing with our temptations of gayness, we just have to be available to allow the spirit to work within us..."
I like the way I've marked the famously quoted verse the Lord says at the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:48), where I superimpose the words of the footnote in for the word "perfect" to read:
"Ye are therefore commanded to be complete, finished, and fully developed, even as your Father which is in heaven is complete, finished and fully developed."

Now, it's one thing to be pricked by the spirit and slapped in the head. It's another thing to DO something about it... :)

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Get over it!

When I returned home from this most recent business trip, I immediately went off to a church meeting where we discussed priesthood quorum business and more importantly those within the quorum that needed particular attention and service. Yes, within an hour of being a gay-people-watching maniac stuck in airports in a funk, feeling so sorry for myself for the angst and anxiety of a "longing for someone - anyone - that I can't have, but it's fun to look anyway and wonder..." I immediately change hats and put on my "straight priesthood holder being asked to visit those in need..."

This duel hat-wearing is the story of my life. Whether it is right or wrong - I don't say - I just admit that that is what my life has become. Switching back and forth and back and forth.

But, as we discovered a dear quorum faithful brother has had a serious infection that has traveled to his heart this last week and has put him in intensive care in the hospital, and another dear quorum faithful relatively young brother whose brain tumor has now made him void of all short-term memory and he's been sent home to die, we immediately divided and set out to visit the families of these brothers and attend to their needs. Immediately there was such a different spirit about my life, about how GOOD and amazingly wonderful I really have it. Sure I've got this duel personality going on inside me and it's not healthy or positive, and sure I've got my issues of doubt, depression, and frustration because of my gayness and it's associated angsts, BUT, how insignificant my troubles and struggles really are in comparison to what others are currently going through! How I should get over myself and get on with it! Get over it and on with helping those who are truly suffering and in need of real assistance.

I'm just a whiner! A poor, pathetic, chronic whiner! I need to slap myself and wake up to the fact that I've been given great opportunities to help others... When we went out to visit and pay calls of support, it was amazing what feelings the spirit brought into my soul in exchange for this simple "sacrifice" of time. I totally and completely forgot about my traveling and gay-longing blues...

It's amazing how that happens, don't you think?

I just need to get over it and get on with it!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Going forward...

There's a line in "Enchanted April" (yes, my favorite chick movie) that says something like:
"I see them as a couple. They can go forward now."
That line resonates this week as I found myself in an airport in California on a business trip.

As I've been known to do all too frequently, when I have a bit of extra time at an airport, I find myself "people-watching". I sit myself down in a good spot and watch the parade of travellers go by. And yesterday was no exception.

One over-the-top / in-your-face blatant and obvious gay couple caught my eye. At first I was appalled at how overly "gay" they were trying to be. I couldn't help but stare at them and I felt so distant and removed and even repulsed by their open display of their "lifestyle". But, then, as I observed the tenderness between them, at the same time, I was in awe of their willingness to have no worries about what others thought and they were "able to go forward". And my feelings of being appalled changed to feelings of envy. Isn't that interesting?

I then found a 20-something year old tall and beautiful, dark and handsome "Tim substitute" to stare at and study. He was so fresh and gorgeous. And I soon felt depressed about it because he was so beautiful and I knew that there was no way in Hell that I "could go forward". I couldn't go up to him and talk to him, get to know him, even say "hi" to him... There was no way.

I don't know that there's a profound point to any of this. I'm just a bit down right now. I hate the traveling that I'm doing in my job. And I feel a bit out of sorts with life as a whole.
I just don't feel like in my situation I can really "go forward" with anyone...