Monday, December 29, 2008

What's the purpose for feeling this way?

My Christmas holiday was great - full of family and warmth and peace. I hope yours was the same as well.

Yesterday was a thrilling day at church. Yes, both Will and Tim were there with their brides. My heart jumped out of my chest. Yes, I still have "feelings" for both of them that go beyond normal boundaries of Puritan propriety. But, it was thrilling to see them bee-line it toward me as we fell into each others arms. They are both so beautiful and radiant, not only on the exterior, but on the inside as well. We showered each other with affectionate hugs and kisses and I felt them willingly reciprocating right in front of their wives. I love their women as well - both are gems - and as far as these eyes can see, they have learned to accept and love the fact that their men love me in ways that transcend normal propriety.

But the exciting thing was... nothing has changed. Yes, life goes on and they grow into their marriages and away from me, but these connections are still there and they remain strong. Funny that both of them independently stated that our connections are more than spiritual brothers - we are "blood brothers".

I still ponder the purpose and meaning of these connections. There is something divine in them. If you think otherwise then you are missing my point. Our world needs to be filled with such blood brotherhood.

Why are we allowed to feel this way about others (to the point of connection that transcends family ties) if there is not a greater purpose? And what is that purpose?

Yesterday, I taught a lesson in Sunday School about the Second Coming and the Millennium and the possibilities that mothers will have of raising their children lost at childbirth and seeing them grow into adulthood. This conversation expanded into questions of other accommodations of injustices that will be given to those Celestial and Terrestrial individuals who are participating in the Millennial experience - of families being made and sealed together where none existed in this life, of childless couples desiring nothing more than to have children, of singles who never married but desired to be connected with another, all being able to fulfill their righteous desires...

And it made me wonder... if Heavenly Father really does love us and knows us and wants nothing more than for us to have His joy and experience that joy, then knowing we androphiles have been created to love other men and have these deep and abiding feelings for other men, is it too presumptuous to believe that some equal accommodation or opportunity of fulfilling that joy may be realized in the Millennium? Is this too presumptuous a thought?

I mean, to say that we have been created with these deep and powerful connections for other men, and then "poof" they are magically gone (thank you very much Elder Oaks) in the next life rings hollow and wrong to me. I know this has been beaten around before and there is nothing new here to offer, but I can't help but believe that when "all is revealed" as is promised in the Millennium and that great equalizing experience of the injustices of this life are realized through our righteousness, I can't help but think there is a place, a way, an increased understanding and purpose for these feelings I feel to have meaning beyond this life in ways that we cannot even begin to comprehend... that my love for other men, yes, even for Will and Tim and Thomas among others, will serve a divine purpose and not be looked upon as evil and thwarting the great plan - as some can only see looking through Telestial eyes.

Why was I created this way? Why do these feelings never go away? What is the purpose for feeling this way? There's just got to be more to the story than simply enduring and overcoming earthly temptations in this life... and that by doing so, all will be well in the hereafter without them... I refuse to believe it!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas longings...

My thoughts are mixed. I'm desiring things that fracture me. I want to be in two places at the same time.

Part of me desires to be with him as he directs his small choir of local citizens at the piccola chiesa paesina where they sing their praises to God for the birth of the Son in a way that can only be appreciated being there in that place and time. Part of me desires to be at midnight Christmas Eve mass with him as he plays the organ at the local cathedral, and then again at midnight mass on Christmas. To feel the spirit of his music and the sacredness of the occasion, and the pageantry of the season with him is something I long for.

But it is not to be... I am here. He is there. He wants me there with him. I told him I wanted more than anything to be there with him. He understands. I'm not sure I do. He's making a video of the oratorio and sending it to me. I'm not sure that I can watch it... yet I can't wait for it to come.

This is a dream, a fantasy - real as it is, it is still a fantasy...


Part of me desires to be focused with my wife and kids and not go anywhere else. I want to just stay home, to just cuddle together around the fire, to just sit quietly wrapping my arms around them, holding them close and cherishing this place and time together. I have this dear and loving family here and now. This isn't a fantasy. This is real. This is peace.

I held her in my arms this morning for a long, long time. We cuddled and caressed each other affectionately - no one said anything as we watched the darkness dissipate into light. I felt serenity, comfort, love and peace.

Why do I make this so hard? It's here in front of me to grasp if I want it... Do I really want it?


May you be wiser than I and find the serenity, comfort, love and peace that you seek at this Christmas Season... MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Kissing at Church...

I really, really wanted Tim and Will to be in church on Sunday... Neither were there. They have moved on. They are married now. They love me, but in a different way. I am still here. I am still longing their embrace.

Tim's younger brother, (who I don't think I've blogged directly about here, who I will call "Benjamin", and who I consider a very dear friend), however was there with his new bride. He saw me approach the ward house door as he ushered in his wife before him. She walked on a bit and around the corner, and he and I smiled. I fell into his arms and pushed him against the wall - all 6'4" of his rock-solid frame. We hugged and I kissed him a big passionate kiss on his neck and whispered that it was good to see him. He smiled his cute big smile and I held him a bit longer until his wife came back to collect him from me...

Later he and his wife happened to sit directly behind me in Sacrament Meeting. After the meeting, full of holiday cheer, we hugged affectionately and intensely again across the bench. I had overheard them discussing whose family they were going to visit first - his or hers (as both families are in my ward) and I looked at him and said softly to his ear fall only... "We're family..." He didn't understand my meaning at first, but then he got it and reconfirmed back to me in eyes that said "Get me out of here" stuck between his mother and mother-in-law... "yes, we're family, and I love you!"

I felt thrilled. We are still connected. Though when I see him, I see his brother (who I was truly in love with), but I love Benjamin as a brother, and he is accepting of my affection openly like his brother and I am grateful for this blessing in my life.

(NOTE: After church I was hugging and kissing everyone I could see. Some older women froze in their tracks when I hugged them, but I didn't care... and most of the men just took it as crazy ol' Beck being touchy-feely again... but again I didn't care. It's Christmas and I feel love in the air...)

Some may say that these encounters of mine are immoral, sexual, even sensual - and the last place they should be playing themselves out is across the pews of the chapel. I say just the opposite... what an appropriate, honest and open place for such feelings of connection of brotherly love. They are not evil. They are an extension of who I am... I love these men in my life as brothers. They are family. And I've decided to not hide that I love them. At first I was worried about the kiss I gave Benjamin earlier, but he showed no sign of repulse for he took it as it was intended - a deep and affectionate sign of brotherly love. I am determined to be more open and not afraid to express myself...

...a small step in living more passionately.

Friday, December 19, 2008

A passionate life worth living?

As I continue to ponder my "what I want" list, I came across this article on the web and it gave me a lot to think about...

Human beings crave experiences that take us beyond our everyday routines. If we want more out of life, we will want to look at patterns that are holding us back right now. We need to go beyond the ordinary from time to time and get caught up in something that feels bigger than we are. Getting beyond our sense of individual isolation that feeds our souls.

What are you passionate about?

Spiritual experiences are often felt in the body as a subtle connection between the physical self and the emotional self. It can feel hard to explain to others; we may even feel a little embarrassed trying to describe what we are feeling. Modern English doesn’t have good words to describe these experiences. Probably the best word is transcendence – a sense of moving beyond our isolated selves and into deeper connection with our entire self, other people or the world around us. We feel moved to a higher level. It’s hard to explain, but we know it when we get there.

There are things we know about how to live passionately. Finding the right balance between living in a highly energetic state on the one hand and being well grounded on the other is important. If we live out of a place of being highly energetic but not too focused on reality, we will eventually crash and burn. On the other hand, living all wrapped up in reality but with little gusto is at least as bad; there may not be a dramatic flameout, but life itself has little exhilaration about it. That’s a problem for those of us who live too much in our heads. We rely on our intellect to help us earn a living; it feels like safe territory for us. But the intellect alone won’t take you where you want to ago.

Living passionately requires us to really be in our bodies. That’s why physical stuff like dancing, running and other aerobic activity creates that high sensation. We feel alive! Doing things that wake up our bodies can feel great and help us move past blocked places.

Creativity is another key to passionate living. Gay men are famous for creativity, of course, whether it’s cooking a fabulous meal or painting the Sistine Chapel. What do you do to let your creativity out?

Paying attention to the sensual world is another key to waking up our passionate selves. What fragrances do you notice as you read this? What do you see all around you? When we slow down and take time to experience what is going on in the world and in ourselves, we can find a universe of delight all around us. Slowing down isn’t always easy. That’s why things like massage or meditation help some men get in touch with their passionate selves.

Perhaps the final key to living passionately is to stop settling for less than we truly want in life. Understanding our desires isn’t always easy. Some desires change from moment to moment, some are hard to put into words, and some are, well, a bit embarrassing. That’s OK. Someone once told me, “The space for what you want in life is occupied by what you are settling for right now.” What are you settling for in work, intimate relationships, and the rest of your one juicy life?

Passionate living is much easier if we make a commitment to getting as much as possible out of life. It requires a bit of self-understanding and a bit of self-discipline if we are in it for the long haul.

It’s important to understand that while we may long for more aliveness, passion and ecstasy, there is another part of us that is scared of living life without holding back. That critical voice inside us says things like: Who the hell are you to think you could do that? You’ll probably die if you let go. Better to stay put and not think such extravagant thoughts. So that part of us tries to distract us.

"If we want more out of life, we will want to look at patterns that are holding us back right now."

John R. Ballew, M.S. a licensed professional counselor in private practice in Atlanta.

I want to live my life more fully.

I want to be more passionate.
I want my emotions to be celebrated.
I want to feel things and be moved by them and to not be afraid of such feelings.

I want to be passionate about every aspect of my life.
I want to feel more alive and not just have life happen to me.
I want to allow my passions to connect with others.

I want to not allow myself to be afraid of connecting with others.
I want to look at these connections to be looked upon as positive.

I want to be less afraid of who I am.

I want to be who I am.

I want to risk more and reach out more to others.

I want to not be held back.

I'm tired of feeling dead. I'm tired of going through the motions. I'm tired of having life happen and just letting it happen.

I recently have been threatened in a very personal and very intimidating way with a very serious lawsuit involving my professional liability. At first I felt scared and confused and intimidated, and began to feel no recourse by to cower to the bullies of the corporate world. But as I've had some time to reflect, I have done NOTHING WRONG. I believe that what I have done has been professional and my work has exemplified integrity and honesty. I am not going to allow myself to be scared of these corporate attorneys. I feel passionate about my work and my name and I am not going to be held back.

I recently have been advised that my relationship with others, including Thomas, is inappropriate and that I should back down. But, as I've had time to reflect on this, I have done NOTHING WRONG. I believe that we can love and connect, yes even romantically, with many people, not just one person, and there is a place and acceptance with even God with this love that I feel for multiple people. I am willing to risk my emotions and feelings for others as I strive to live my life more fully, more passionately.

What I love about Italians is their passion for life. I love that they get angry and voice their opinions openly. I love that they touch and feel and aren't afraid of emotions and spiritual connections. I love that they can love. These feelings can all be combined in minutes within the same conversation. I feel we aren't passionate enough in our lives. We become too reserved, to removed from others, too beyond touch and connection.
Maybe there is something in this on honesty, integrity, authenticity - roadblocks that hold me back from truly being a passionate soul.

Any thoughts on living life more passionately? And not being afraid of feelings and connections and life?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Emotions of the weekend...

It was an emotional weekend:

1. Took the family to see the lights of Temple Square and to our favorite downtown restaurant for our traditional "night out on the town". The kids were excited and I was emotional (with all that's been weighing on me and with all the thoughts of where I'm going from here, etc...) and we had a great time and reflected on our past Christmas seasons together...

2. As a family, attended the Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert with 21,000 other people. I was touched to tears several times (by the music and setting, but also by the comfort of being together as a family)- maybe it's just me and that I get emotional and passionate about these things, but I was overcome that I was here with my wife and kids and I felt such happiness and peace as I thought of these times together...

3. Shoveled out over 8" of snow with my kids! It was invigorating, beautiful and exciting (yes Abe, snow can be all these things) and emotional. I love the first real major storm of the season...

4. Anxiously awaited the return of our college student eldest daughter who hasn't been home since July. She's struggling and hurting in many ways and I was desperate to have her home again, to hold her and to just know that she was safe and warm in our home. I don't really have anything more to offer her than that. And it was emotional...

5. Celebrated Santa Lucia (the festival of Lights) - an Italian / Catholic holiday that we do with family and friends with a Mormon twist. We had 17 around our table for a special holiday dinner and a celebration of Christ being the Light of the world. Our house was decorated (with our five Christmas "memory" trees) to the hilt with our family memories and with two fireplaces roaring, the warmth of the occasion caused me deep reflection of my blessings, of my love for my family, and brought me peace... real peace that I haven't felt for a long, long time...
6. Reflected on Thomas and his birthday that evening as I felt him close to me. With all of the candles and flickering lights, the reflection of family and friends, I couldn't help but contemplate the good and warmth I felt for him at this time and the love I continue to feel for him, as I find in my heart the possibility of loving my family AND friends and part of my emotion came by pensively placing him in my heart as part of me and this season... Some may feel this is inappropriately placed in this sequence of events. I do not... not in the spirit it is given.

7. Accompanied our son early on the Sabbath to witness and participate in his patriarchal blessing. The miracles that are my son and how he came into our lives is known only to us and the Lord - and in that powerful, prophetic blessing, my heart was touched to know of the tender love He has for me and the amazing potential He has in store for my son.... What a father's pay-day!!! Need I say, it was very spiritual, peace-filled and emotional?

8. Taught a lesson that brought a newly activated sister to a realization that she was feeling the spirit. I was impressed to ask her to offer the closing prayer, to which she did so with some trepidation and fear, but with emotion that overcame fear and brought peace to her and my soul. I learned afterward that that was the first time ever in her 50-something years that she has prayed publicly out loud... and how grateful she was for having done so and to have felt the Spirit present. I felt the spirit as we hugged and bonded with that emotion...

9. Worked on a huge service project for the High Priests, taking their photos and gathering their written testimonies to mount together in a "Father's Legacy" gift to their children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Some were hesitant to write their feelings, but then got into it. As I copy or retype their words, I feel the power of their witnesses and their testimonies, and realize the power of a Father and the legacy he leaves his posterity. It has brought me to my knees in gratitude for the bounty and blessing that is mine to be a father and husband - something I haven't felt for some time...

10. Prayed to continue to feel this peace and emotion, expressing gratitude for the ability to FEEL and to NOT be "beyond feeling". I thank my God for giving me a passionate heart that can feel tenderness, and that can connect with others. At times, I curse this heart for being too emotional and too passionate... but I am grateful that I CAN feel. That, at times is a curse, but mostly it is a blessing.

Emotion can be seen as just tears, or lack of control, or being sissy, weak, superficial, or shallow. The emotions I describe this weekend encapsulated feelings of the Spirit, of Peace, of Tender Mercies, of Miracles and Reminders of all that I am and can be with the Lord at my side... I find strength, and assurance, and comfort and manliness in these emotions... and I haven't felt this way for a long time... It's so easy to forget...

Sorry for being emotional (as I tend to gush in excess), but indulge me a bit - as I search to find my way through these emotions onto the path of "what I want"...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Never-ending phase?

Two nights ago I was sitting at the kitchen counter with my teenage daughter and we were discussing dating. She was particularly open and talked about her "friend" who was a "boy" and how some of their friends in high school consider the two of them as a couple - they eat lunch together, they've gone to dances together, etc. and how she and he don't want to be considered a couple, but "just friends". I thought it was cute and endearing...

She talked about other kids in school who are "married" to each other and how she felt that it was way too soon to feel this way about another person. (At this point, I thought what a great job I've done as a parent to help raise such a mature and level-headed daughter). Then, she mentioned some girls in school who have a serious new boyfriend every other week and how much they are in love with the next cute guy that smiles at them... We talked about it just being part of the adolescent process of growing up and discovering ourselves, and who we really are.(Then at this point, I kind of got uncomfortable with myself for it sounded for a minute like she was describing me!)

Here I am trying to carry on a conversation with me teenage daughter about her feelings and understanding her peers and herself through the excitement of dating and being a "friend" to a "boy", and I'm playing the experienced and all-knowing father, when really I seem to know very little... I've lived in the hetero world for so long that I get what they go through, but I have a hard time transitioning that knowledge to the gay world.

I mean, one minute I'm in love with Tim and his sweetness, and the next it's with Will and his exuberance for life, and then the next it's with Thomas and his warmth and tenderness and rekindled interest in me, and then it's with the newest MOHO who is emailing me and I get all giddy inside that he wants to discuss so many things with me, and then it's the young, fit blond pony-tail construction worker with piercing blue eyes and a smile that melts me right there on the construction site, and I totally fall apart inside... Now if that isn't the story of my adolescent ridiculousness then I really don't get what's going on...

This comment got me thinking about something I've read recently about the coming out process of a gay person and coming to terms with that and how that affects behavior and how this self-awareness process goes through a similar adolescent phase:

During this phase there is often a replication of adolescence which was never allowed, and the person needs the support of someone with whom he or she can talk. This listener need not have had the same experiences. If this works well, the individual will get what they need out of the adolescent phase, which is curiosity, new experience, a sense of self, growth that is exciting and interesting, without some of the harmful things that can happen. They learn they can think. They learn they can have a good time as well as work. They learn they are loved, they learn to flirt, they learn the erotic process. These things are crucial for later adult development. We tend to give this phase a short shrift because we fear the dangers, but it need not be dangerous. (Marybeth Raynes - Clinical Social Worker, Adjunct Instructor -University of Utah).

This blog has helped me to at least understand that I'm still very juvenile in my coming out process and my sexual awareness. I tend to be more romantic and heavy on infatuation than a mature person would be. I tend to connect very quickly and desire connections to the point of smothering the relationship. I tend to be naive about sex, particularly gay sex, and get caught in the fantasy of it verses the reality of it. I tend to want to feel erotic in experimenting with clothing changes, hair styles, fitness and work outs to "look good", etc. instead of just being happy and healthy. I tend to lose sight of the important for the thrill of the moment. I tend to flirt as I try to understand the erotic process inside me. I tend to think too much. I tend to be stuck in this process.
It is good to experiment with these new feelings, be curious of this new world, be aware of myself, grow in new and exciting ways, and even be a bit edgy or flirting with danger without harming myself or placing me or others in real danger. I'm trying to do this, consciously and most likely subconsciously.

Ms. Raynes emphasizes that this is an important process to go through and allow the "coming- out" person to have adequate time for the process of adolescences and self-discovery to occur, leading to crucial adult development that may be more healthy. A dialogue with others, including my wife, can be good as we move through this process together, accepting it for what it is, and what it isn't... I'm really NOT going off in an adult relationship with Tim, or Will, or Thomas, or new MOHO, or Ponytail Beauty. I'm really NOT. (Those of you who are in the "adult world" seem to make the jump that I'm more mature than I really am - not just in years but in true maturity - and that I am you and you would go off and make that adult decision - but I'm not you...) I'm still sexually stunted and irrevocable damaged in my growth as a sexual and emotional man from having lived nearly five decades deep in the darkness of the closet. I'm just the girl my daughter sees in high school hallways hanging on the next pretty face to walk by my locker.

So, there is a time element to this process, and experts say that this time element needs to be appreciated and respected. But how much time? Good grief - I've been out to myself over four years! I've lived with myself for eternity! How long does it take? I've watched some in this community come out, accept things, and move on in a fairly quick sequence of events - maybe a year, maybe even a few months. For some of us, this seems like a never-ending phase - an eternity already! Without getting really serious with another man in a gay relationship, how else do I get through this and move on to a more mature and stable level? Without real "adult knowledge", how does one move into the adult world? How do I enjoy the ride of self-discovery and yet stop being a hideous, giddy, silly high school girl whose head turns so quickly she sprains her neck?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Gay Chameleon or Gay Switch?

Over the course of the last week, I've received comments on this blog and in private messages from those who imply that I should suspend with my associations in this blogging community, that I should take down my blog and that I should stop "feeding" my attraction issues, including searching for the perfect guy, or bromances, or my newly renewed relationship with an old friend. They typically speak from the advantage of experience and are sending me a warning voice that they didn't heed and sincerely don't want me to go down the same path they went.

Meanwhile, there are those on this blog and in private messages who imply that to think that I can suddenly stop feeling what I feel inside, and that I can turn off the switch of my attraction, is just stupid and ludicrous to even contemplate such a thought. They see progress I've made in self-acceptance and encourage me to be honest with myself and the inevitability of these feelings.

Obviously, there are others somewhere in between these two extremes, but these extremes do exist and both groups show great passion and sincerity for me as a person, particularly in this last week, and are both trying to influence me for the best.

I end up thinking: Am I blogging too much? Has my blog become too important? Is there something about the advice to not hang out with other gay guys? Is there something about not "feeding" my attractions and passions?

Or I end up thinking: Is this community worth holding on to? Is going it alone really better than help and encouragement and support from others who are wanting my best interest at heart? Is the queerosphere a self-fulfilling prophesy of the inevitable? Honestly, I've gone it alone and it isn't fun. There is strength in numbers, particularly numbers that are trying to keep their covenants. Yet, is there something about us coddling each other and encouraging each other in acceptance that we talk ourselves into condoning what we wouldn't condone alone?

So I go back to the switch idea: There are guys out there who have confessed that they really have gone all the way, have had passionate and sexual physical relationships with guys, long-term, short-term and every-term one can think of, living all kinds of gay partnerships - from one-night stands to decades long monogamous relationships - and then... POOF... they walk away from it all, leave it behind, repent, move on to wife and kids and covenants with no regrets, no longings, no never-ending cravings. And I ask: HOW DO THEY DO IT???? Give me specifics! Is that possible? Are these guys for real? Is this truly the rest of the story? Am I too cynical now to accept that that ending is conceivable for anyone, including me, one who has not taken those steps of sexual relations, yet still has strong and sometimes overwhelming attractions and cravings?

I mean, just yesterday, I went to a construction job site. There was the contractor's young baby brother on site who ended up taking me around the project. He was 24 years old, sporting a blond pony tail, young brown beard and piercing blue eyes and a smile that melted me. It was all I could do to keep concentrating on the project and not on him. He caught me staring at him a couple of times and just smiled politely. I was freaking out...

Now, was that because I've been "feeding my issues" too much here and on the Internet? Was it that I miss my past bromances that are now gone and a long-distance passion that isn't here and now? Am I just a lusting slutty gay-adolescent destined to live my life this way because I haven't experienced that which my warning voices have experienced? Am I just a sucker for a twenty-something, athletically-fit, blond pony-tailed, young bearded, blue-eyed beauty or what?

The point is: I can't turn this off! I can't be a chameleon that can change at whim! I'm doing that gig already and have done it so much that it's driving me insane and I don't know how not to do it - fitting into my splintered selves... dishonesty with my wife and kids... sneaking relationships and blogs... temple attendance and church leadership positions all wrapped up in a chameleon rainbow of change. I don't care how much I step away from this blogging, these queerosphere friendships of fellow MOHOs, the Internet, my bromances, my fantasy world - it doesn't matter - I don't know how to turn this off. And I really am struggling to know that those of you who can look at such a guy and just walk away and keep your thoughts on your work - I don't believe you. Some admit to such emotions and follies, while others keep such thoughts to themselves, while others say they've overcome such thoughts and have moved beyond them because they are a LIE.

I don't believe anyone. Where is the truth? I don't believe that I'm alone in these feelings. I don't believe I can switch this gay-thing off. I don't believe that I can just walk away. Yes, I can resist, I can walk from actually doing something inappropriate, I can control myself, but to say that these feelings won't happen if I just work at it hard enough - I'm not convinced. How do you do it? How do you go from having passionate relationships with other men and then just decide one day that you won't anymore, and you don't... even in thoughts.
I know the Plan and I know the Atonement and I know repentance is possible and that change is possible and that repentance is nothing more than a "change of heart" or a "change of direction". But I will reiterate that I am convinced, as delusional as I may be, that these feelings are innate, are part of me, have always been and will always be - not taking away the possibility of the "healing power" of the Atonement, but recognizing that my Spirit is who I am and I am this way and I have nothing to be ashamed of who I am. These feelings are part of me and define me and are a GIFT from God and as such, it is my duty, obligation, responsibility and passion to multiply this gift and make it the best that it can be for good - for others and for me!

Maybe I am too far down the chains of hell and I don't even know it... or I've realized too late and I'm already chained to the author of all LIES... and this Blog and this queerosphere community is just part of Satan's package.... (now if one really understands the Plan, one realizes this defeatist attitude is the greatest of all LIES - there is always hope and I'm not giving up yet!).

Saturday, December 06, 2008

A letter to JG...

Dear JG:

I am deeply honored that you posted a comment on this blog. I am sure that I am not alone in saying that you are one of my heroes. I started blogging a few months before you came on the scene and I followed your story with great interest and intrigue – more obvious now because of my feelings for my Italian brother. Your descriptions of your love for Isaac and for finding a way that the two of you could be together and have this special bond forever, including the physical aspect of the relationship, was so endearing to me as I felt the same thing. I felt as if I were living through your experience as you opened up your feelings for your family and the Gospel and the tug that they were on your life to pull back, the retrench and to start over. Those words expressed were with great passion and emotion and they touched me deeply. I admired your example and strength to come back to America and break your ties with Isaac and allow him to move on with his life, be baptized and find his own path in the Gospel.

I am thrilled that you continue to feel that the choices you made 18 months ago were the correct one that you’ve experienced countless miracles and have felt the Spirit back in your life again as a dad and husband. What joy this brings to my heart. I’ve always wanted to know “the rest of the story” and thanks for sharing what you have.

I am grateful to know that Isaac is doing well, as well, and that his testimony is strong and growing and is preparing to enter the House of the Lord. What an amazing blessing for you! What a miracle for the both of you! I needed to hear that the Spirit you feel back in your life outweighs anything you gave up (“sex with your man”). I am thrilled that you’ve found a way to still be brothers together and to love your man in a more spiritual way. Thank you again for being my hero!

I am saddened that you are saddened by my blog. I didn’t expect that reaction from you. You are disturbed by the photos I’ve been posting. I guess that is to be expected. I don’t excuse that behavior, but I guess it is a continuation of the “adolescent phase” with which I find myself. I ask myself why I use them – I guess I am visually oriented, I use and create images in my profession and beautiful images or thought-provoking images interest me and communicate to me and others in ways that words cannot. I do not use them to be offensive or cruel or evil. Maybe I push the edge a bit, but I use my blog for that purpose, in a way of coping with reality, and I find that in allowing my blog to be an alter-ego of myself and push the limits a bit, I am able to better respond to that reality as I go about living my life away from this blog. I hope that makes sense and I am sorry that you’ve taken offense.

You say that you “don’t see any sign of a fight” in me and that I “seem to have already given up”. I don’t expect you, or anyone, to read my entire story, and you know very well that a blog is just a miniscule slice of who the author is behind the words, and understanding this, you must realize that you cannot judge me like this. Yes, I am toying with ideas and feelings that may seem to place me on the edge of apostasy or inevitability, but I assure you that I am not you. I have not gone to him! I have not left me family to run to his open arms. I have not violated my covenants. I do not intend to violate those covenants!

I have been fighting all my life as I’m sure you have and you must continue to do so, whether you admit it or not. I have been chaste my whole life. I do not know what gay love feels like as you do. I do not have that knowledge of intimacy with another man, yet I long for it. It is something I crave. Yet, through all my youth, and mission, and marriage of 27 years, I have not given up the fight to resist that craving! I am not blaming you for misunderstanding me, for my words sometimes betray the real me. Be it clear: just because I long for that relationship of physical, emotional electricity with another man that I love completely, does not mean that I have given up the fight! And if this blog, as imperfect and worldly at times as it may be, helps me to keep up the fight, then I will see it as achieving one of its prime purposes for existing.

You tell me: You’ve lost sight of reality: who you were before you were born, all that you have been given and promised and the royal Priesthood that you hold.” I want you to know that I have a firm and solid and unshakeable testimony of the PLAN. It is one of very few things that I am sure of. I know who I am! I know that I am a Child of God and that God loves me. I know that I am eternal and have always existed and that the essence of who I am today is who I always have been and who I am today will be the essence of who I will be someday! My vision is clear! I know the power of the Priesthood that I hold. I have seen it work miracles in others lives as well as my own. I know that I have stepped off the path and may be “testing the waters” at times, but that does not mean that I have lost sight of who I am or the promises in store for me as I hold on.

My struggle is with wanting to hold on, not in not knowing. I do know. And sure, it is exhilarating to have someone, a dear brother come to realize that after all these years he loves me as much as I love him. Sure it’s addicting and I love that feeling. But I disagree that this feeling is ultimately “empty”. I have nothing but good feelings and desires for my “Isaac” and our relationship has been built on the Spirit and the desires to do good that the Spirit prompts us to do. Nothing but good has come from these feelings. I do not consider them “empty”. Maybe in the particular path that you chose, you found them to end in emptiness. With your example, I want to not have that same conclusion.

I count these feelings as a gift, as a blessing from God and I am alive and exhilarated and thrilled to be able to feel this love. It is not evil! This is not something that Satan is using to chain me to hell. I do not believe that. I cannot believe that. Though I may long for the relationship that you and Isaac so beautifully shared, and you may regret to have shared such things with this community for fear of setting the course in doing that very thing for others of us to follow, this longing does not mean that is the course I am on.

Thomas is a real man. He is not fictional. My feelings for him may be romanticized and na├»ve, but they are not make-believe. And to say that he is my “gay lover” is overstating it. Again, I love him, I even admit that I am “in love” with him in a real way, but he is not my “gay lover” and never will be. He is my brother. We are more than friends. Our friendship has lasted and intensified over these 29 years. We still feel the spirit beating in our hearts and the connection between us after all these years. Is this a lie? Is what we feel not real?

Yes, I’m holding onto a dream, just as you did. I was hoping to have received more understanding words and a measure of comfort from you as you, of all people, know from where I speak as you have gone before me on this path. Where is your heart? Where is your compassion? Why are you so angry and bitter about this? What have you seen that I don’t understand? Is it that you see anguish and regret in my path? Do you feel that it was a mistake to know Isaac, to share your life with him, to love him? Why, if it all ended up so well for you, is it still such a nightmare of torture to see me following your path? Don’t you see that I want to learn from you and to be understood by you, and to make the right choices, instead of being treated as a delusional mess?

You disappeared from the blogging world and I hang on. You’ve moved on and I’m still languishing in the muck of my photos and blogging cronies. You’re on higher ground fighting and you see me low and debased and quitting the fight. I apologize for that misconception. I reiterate: I am not ready to give up!

I again thank you for coming back, even if just for this brief moment for me to internalize the fight which is still within me! I hope you will come back soon and often and be willing to teach and encourage and help others who are struggling with what you once struggled, and hope that you and others like you, who have moved on, can show us the way.

I’ve said this before: There is no guide book on how to be a married Mormon man with these feelings raging inside him. The Church doesn’t want to even admit that we, our kind, even exist. It never was meant to be easy, nor fair, and I’m not asking for it to be anything but what it is. But, I do know one thing – I am grateful for these feelings raging inside me, because they are who I am, and they help me to be a better person, a kinder person, a more compassionate and loving person for feeling them. I am not ashamed of who I am nor why I feel the way I do. I do not blame God. I praise Him for giving me this gift.

Thank you again for responding to my request, and may God bless you and your family, and Isaac and his, as you journey on this common quest for eternal joy,


Friday, December 05, 2008

Thomas - Part 3

I'm a wreck.

This emotional roller coaster I'm on is destroying me.

I can't sleep. I ended up dreaming (or wishfully fantasizing I'm not sure) about Thomas the last three nights. It's always the same situation. I find myself in Italy again - this time alone. I am walking on a hidden path - one time it was in the Ligurian hills somewhere , another time it was in the rice paddy fields near his home, another time it was along a lake in Lombardia, but always it was the same deserted path. All of a sudden, he is there with me - he comes out of the forest / from amidst the evening fog / from around a stone wall. I'm not shocked. We greet without affection. Things are casual between us. We talk as we walk along as if it is a normal day's conversation of the events, and as we talk, I start feeling all excited and sparkly inside. We come to a tree / a rock / a wall (depending on the version) and I finally can't stand it anymore, and I press him up against the object in mid-sentence and kiss him romantically. He tenses at first and then melts into my arms and then I wake up... and I smile exhausted but renewed.

I shared with him these thoughts. I thought it would shock him or panic him, but it did not. He's flattered and excited that I am dreaming of him in this way... AAAAGGGHHH! He wasn't supposed to react to my forward-looking thoughts that way!

I'm in a panic. I'm happy and elated one minute and confused and consumed in the next. I'm unable to work. I can't think. I'm disingenuous to you. I'm disingenuous to my wife. I'm disingenuous to him. I'm not thinking clearly. I refuse to face myself.

To make things worse, I drug out my missionary journal and started reading it this morning trying to recall the date of first meeting. I remembered that I was transferred to his city at the first week of December. As it turns out, it was 29 years ago tomorrow that I met him for the first time. He stood in my apartment bedroom door as I was still unpacking. I was shocked a bit, because I wasn't used to having members within the mission apartment, but he obviously was comfortable in doing so with the previous missionaries, and I soon accepted this arrangement as normal for him. He was single, he was our age, (and he wasn't female) and he was enveloped in all things missionary that the elders were doing - so it was good. Within a couple of days I'm expressing my "love" for him and a "bond" with him. Within a week, we are talking and sharing thoughts and feelings about the Gospel and the missionary work and it stirs my heart and I feel something more for him. And by the end of the month we've had numerous close encounters, spiritual experiences, his birthday celebration, the holidays, the New Year... and by the end of the month we've kissed. Well, actually he kissed me in a very sacred and special Italian way... but all the same, as I read my words and find, a bit amazed, that he is mentioned or discussed or something he said is written or an encounter with him is described on EVERY single page... I didn't know this! I haven't reread my words for decades... and now that I'm reading them in this new "light of day", I am overcome by how fast and how strong our emotions grow. I thought it took us several months to get to the point of arrival (I was in that city for five months), but it was very quick and very strong and we connected and all the emotions of those memories are flooding back to me anew. And I'm consumed.

I was "in love" with him when I got married, and though I told HER about HIM before we were married, and though I locked my heart and gave her the key, there has always been a chamber that was locked away for him. I compartmentalize this very easily and I feel no guilt, no shame, no hypocrisy. I feel as if I should, but I don't. I feel none! What I've given her I've given completely. What I've given or saved for him, I've done so completely as well. Each fully their portion. Both are part of my heart. Though it is still one heart, there are separate keys and separate chambers.

Some have suggested that the only way to go forward is to tell my wife everything I'm feeling, and that anything less is wrong, dishonest, disingenuous. Others have wisely counseled to not do anything in haste, but to cherish the moment and to feel the joy and the blessing of it and to be patient. I choose the sagacity of "no-haste" approach...

And to make things worse, I've been re-reading "The Glass Darkly" of fame and I've been consumed in JG's journey with Isaac (his Thomas), a French boyfriend that he met in London while working there. If you read his story, it reads almost as an allegory, as if it were symbolic and meant to teach. One day he appears out from nowhere into this blogging community, opens his heart to deep and heart-wrenching events that lead to his turmoil of decisions to leave his boyfriend, his lover, and return to his wife and kids in America, or to start a new life with Isaac. Then, he pulls back, leaves him, returns home, seeks forgiveness, repents, abandons Isaac for his own good, and then Isaac miraculously seeks out the missionaries and is baptized in Europe, and both end up happily on their respective paths and then the blog, as passionate and as heart-wrenching as it was, suddenly ends and JG disappears, never to be heard of again. It's like the Book of Job in the Bible. Job comes from nowhere, tells his tremendously sad story, succeeds in the end triumphantly, and then disappears, never to be heard from again. With JG, it's now been 18 months and I wonder... are they still happy in their respective choices? Did they ever get back together? Did JG stay with his family? Did Isaac find joy in the Church and his conversion?

I'm living in a blogging-consumed fairy tale world. This isn't real... It isn't happening... I am still who I am... I haven't bought my ticket... I'm not going to... But deep down I keep thinking about Annie (Meg Ryan's character in Sleepless in Seattle) where she stares longingly at the Empire State Building and can't help but wonder if he is really there waiting for her... and she has to tell her fiance' "Walter, I have to go".

I know that if I do go, something like the scene in my dream will come to pass (as Damon has warned) and I'll want it do and I'll desire it to and I'll see to it that it does happen and he will be willing and waiting... I am convinced that I will always be in love him, no matter what, even if we never see each other again, just as I am convinced that I will always love her. This is my reality, not necessarily my destiny.

AAARRGGG... this is getting so ridiculous!!!!!!!!! Just shoot me now, please, I beg of you!

When is this eternal adolescence going to end? I really am a serious person. I am not so gaggy and hopelessly romantic.
I really want to curl up and disappear...

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Thomas - Part 2

The response from this community to my previous post has been overwhelming to say the least! I've tried to distill the advice. Though it may seem like I'm totally at a loss of what to do, deep down, I know what to do (whether I choose to do so is another story). Some suggest I shouldn't even be doing this, others suggest I should pull the plug on this blogging gig of illicit secrets, others are intrigued as I am by it, others still are mainly worried for my wife's sake, and rightfully so. That said, I feel like I need to get this out of my system before I can move on with what I want...

I need to explain that Thomas was my first. He started it all. He opened me to the world of man-to-man affection and emotional (read non-sexual) bonding. So, being the first, he has a key soft spot in my life and nothing will change that. He taught me to be honest with my heart. He encouraged me to not be afraid of natural affection between men (cloaking it in a cultural difference between Americans and Italians - and there is a huge difference) and I took to his coaching and encouragement and demonstrations of affection as if I were coming alive from the inside for the first time in my life. I had been so closeted through my adolescent years and so afraid of so many things that when I was with him I felt so open and free and alive and human for the first time! Combining these affectionate encounters with spiritual encounters of teaching, of gospel discussions, of testimonies, of missionary work, of service to others - all led to a flooding of spirit and passion mixed together and wrapped up and personified in him. My mission president observed us together and actually encouraged me with this relationship and deemed it a precious thing and admonished me to cherish it.

Obviously, as I look back, I was experiencing the joys of my homosexuality as well as the bonding, the passion, and the spirit. I was finally feeling WHOLE. It was an incredibly life-altering experience. I interpreted it as love, true love, brotherly love in the truest form, etc. I did not want to think about the sexual aspect, but it was there. But, the point is, I was finally feeling alive as a person, as the person that I am inside. It was as if I came alive anew. It is difficult to explain, but from this friendship, I came home a much different person.

Had I known at the time (and maybe only Abe understands why I wouldn't have as these were different times) that I was gay, I don't know what I would have done with this new-found wholeness. But, because I didn't know, or wouldn't allow myself to think that way, I immediately challenged myself to find a way to get this feeling of passion and wholeness back into my life. I ended up channeling all my energy, my spirit, my emotions, my passions into a source that substituted for the love lost by being separated from Thomas - the MTC. In the MTC, I focused this feeling inside me of who I really was as a person and I channeled it into the missionaries and opened my heart to them and became extremely affectionate with them. Again, I found a way to experience intense male-to-male bonding in a controlled, safe, emotional and spiritual environment of brotherly love.

Because I went chasing off after Thomas when he got married and blowing all my savings (if that doesn't tell you that I was gay and giddy and madly in love with him, with passion dictating my actions - I don't know what will - for who else (read non-gay /non-passionate) would have done such a thing?) I came back to the MTC a few days late into the fall semester and districts were already assigned to other teachers and I was left to teach "retention" (the evening study hall) with none other than my wife-to-be. It was this thrown together coincidence, caused by my unbridled feelings for Thomas, that created the meeting and the love-at-first-sight of the only woman who I've ever felt that way about. We dated in the MTC with us teaching together and that stirred all my emotions and passions and spirit and love into the place, the missionaries and into her. We became friends. We courted in the MTC. We dated in the MTC. Our relationship was centered on the missionaries and we built our friendship around our concern for them. Out of this came a romance and love and we were soon engaged. (Again, who but a gay guy would have his courtship with his future wife built on the bonds of passion centered on the MTC? No straight guy I know of!).

So, Thomas, for me, became of symbol of all things good that I felt inside as I was free to be who I was inside. In the MTC world, I was free from judgment and harsh realities of dating and BYU single-life pressures. Those feelings of romance that I felt for Thomas were easily transferred to the one woman who was attracted to me directly because she saw me glowing, and inspiring, and so outwardly expressive and sensitive to others - and all these emotions that were stirred by him and transferred to the missionaries - she saw as endearing and attractive - and she fell in love with that person.

In time, the fairy tale ended. Life went on and reality set in. We weren't compatible sexually. We struggled in many ways. The passion ended. I withdrew from life. I settled into a routine. I fell into my closet and wrap myself in my shell and disappeared. For years we lived like this.

Then, one day, I was reborn. I was made YM President and I found a new source to "be myself" again and to find that WHOLENESS that I was missing. I started feeding that passion and emotion and brotherly love and service and craving for male bonding into the young men. Soon, deep bromances developed, and this time, now more sexually aware of myself as an adult, I became squarely cognisant of my sexual attractions I had for a couple of these young men as they prepared for their missions (this is where Will and Tim come into the picture). It scared me and I started to hate myself for I finally put it all together that I was gay.

I confided in Thomas, and he gave me strength and hope and encouragement without judging me. His goal was to keep me from hating myself or doing harm to myself and he didn't internalize what it all meant to him or that I was in love with him...

Two weeks ago, for whatever reason, it dawned on him for the first time that I was "in love with him" when I was a missionary, and it was like a switch turned on inside him and he awoke to the realization of my feelings for him, and opened to the possibilities those feelings might mean for both of us, and for his own sexuality. (It was like the scene in Thomas Hardy's Far from the Madding Crowd where Mr. Boldwood all of a sudden falls in love with Bathsheba when she sends him a joke Valentine card. All of a sudden Mr. Boldwood was open to the possibilities that before never reached his consciousness). He told me yesterday that he found himself on the morning bus commuting into work and his thoughts of me and my pain and confusion and passions and feelings overcame him and he started to cry - tears were shed and he said that he hadn't shed any tears for anyone in years and here he was crying on the bus. These feelings are bursting within him. Is this an evil thing? A cruel joke like a carelessly placed valentine? I don't think so.

All my feelings for him have been packaged with goodness, wholesomeness, spirituality, kindness, sensitivities. Yes, we are now discussing passion more openly, including the possibility of physical intimacy, but it is theoretical, not actual. Even so, some have suggested that my emotional attachment to him has been equal to committing adultery in my heart. I beg to differ. I don't feel it that way. Maybe I'm too naive or too blind to see, but I see these feelings as WHOLENESS within me.

For the first time in my life, I have opened myself honestly and completely and have shared my same-sex attractions with him without fear of judgment or trepidation. He has been the first man who has embraced those key elements of who I am and has returned his affection to me with love and sweetness and understanding and acceptance. I feel WHOLE again. Is this evil? I don't think so.

I'm giddy as a school boy because I'm perpetually stuck in my adolescent stage and I'm acting like a teenager - I know that. I never got this far with Will and Tim - they were spared the pain of knowing that I was gay (though I tried to show them in so many obvious ways) - and so for Thomas to respond so positively and openly to me as a gay man has turned my longing heart and head in a teenage crush. Do you blame me?

Some comments jump to conclusions and assume that I am ready to pursue an adult-type gay relationship with Thomas. If you think that, then you don't understand from where I come. I've tried to explain that I am stuck in the "romantic" image of this relationship, the adolescent view of what "gay" really means. I'm so slow in my coming out that I would not and could not jump to that extreme of a change from teenager to adulthood even if my thoughts and desires and passions express themselves in a way that would seem that I would. I have more thoughts on this adolescence that I've been saving for another post.

To ease your minds, I wrote him last night and told him that I was pushing too fast and smothering him with my passion and that I needed to turn it down a bit and come to grips with myself and my situation and his situation and the appropriateness of our love letters. I told him that all that I said was true and that I couldn't retract it, but now that it was out, we can't go back to where we were, and so I worry where we go from here?

I was worried all day about his response. I then received this (translated):

"Don't worry. There is no problem. I am happy that you have opened your heart to me: if this is the truth, it is useless to hide it. We are adults, no longer teenagers, and we can have patience, patience that our lives have toughly taught us. Be calm! That is what God wants. I don't want you to have this fight within you, I don't want you to suffer, because you already have suffered too much. Be happy with what we have. It is a miracle. We don't need to make any other mistakes, more than those we've made in the past. So, I ask you again to be calm. Don't worry about me... The truth between us doesn't make me suffer, instead, I feel nothing but joy. I want you to always be able to tell me everything, that your heart is always open and not closed to me. You are mine. I will have patience and am content to wait... and if it never happens, I'm happy just the same. Be at peace with your family - promise me! I know that you will make things right with your family! I believe in you..."

You can judge for yourselves, but I think this has been a good step. We've toned it down and are trying to enter a more real / adult phase of this new reality between us...

Now, and I don't know if I can, I will try to turn my heart back to my family... but give me a moment, a brief moment to enjoy the feelings of being WHOLE for once in my life...

Monday, December 01, 2008

Thomas - Part I

During the last few weeks I've been searching for a direction in my life, and an answer to the "what do I really want?" kind of questions. As much as the answer to these questions should be obvious to a true believer (which I am most definitely one of the true believers) of "the Plan", it hasn't been an easy task. I've struggled with the difference between what I should want verses what I really want. And that struggle triggers all sorts of thoughts as to why there even exists such a struggle in the first place.

But, this post isn't directly about that... My list of wants is still forthcoming. I'm still working on it and it has been my prime focus for some time now.
That said, there has been a new development which has made my task and my focus more difficult. I'm hesitant to share this development here, as I'm sure most of you will say: "... well, there he goes again, that Beck, always looking to hook up with somebody - if he can't get it from his young men who are now all married off, then I guess he's got to get his bromancing in from somewhere... (heavy sigh)".
Where do I begin... A brief synopsis may be justified...

While I've been having problems, distancing myself from confrontations with my wife (and feeling compromised and bruised a bit in the process), a friend from the past comes back into my life.
This friendship is a deep and dear friendship that extends back nearly three decades. This friendship began toward the end of my mission. Thomas was a 22 year old law student and newly baptized member when we met. I fellowshipped him and guided him through the process of preparing to be an Elder and go to the temple. We became very close, extremely close. Nothing immoral happened between us, but I fell in love with him. I couldn't use those words at the time because at that time I couldn't and wouldn't accept that I was gay. To put it in those words implied that I was attracted to him sexually, and I wouldn't allow myself to go there. Though we were more intimate than a missionary should be, we encased our relationship in the bonds of "spiritual brotherhood" that our love for each other was just that - brotherly love. For now, I will leave it at that.
When my mission was up, I remember the hardest thing I had to do was leave Thomas. My parents came to pick me up, and he was there at my side. We cried openly and wept in each others arms as I had to leave. I did not want to go. I was in love with him. This attachment I had with him and he with me caused my parents great concern. They wanted to receive in their arms a welcoming son, and instead, they found a son who wanted to spend the rest of his life with another man. Though none of us cloaked it in the words of "gay", it was obvious that we were more than "best friends" or "mates". They were convinced that getting me home and back to college and away from Italy would solve the "problem".
Several months later, Thomas was getting married in the Swiss Temple. He was marrying someone that I knew (he was engaged the last month of my mission) not because he loved her, but because it was the right thing to do. I didn't like her (she was the sister of a sweet member in our branch who came to visit, but she was anything but sweet and desperate to be married - and in Italy, finding an eligible worthy priesthood holder is difficult - and was going to find "her man" hell or high water!) as it felt like she had hooked him and was taking home her catch. He seemed happy, and what was a missionary supposed to do but encourage eternal families and temple marriage as "the Lord's will" for all of us. But, as I look back, I was deeply jealous of her because I knew that she didn't love him as I loved him and I didn't see him loving her as he loved me. It was being done out of duty, and "the right thing to do" and nothing else.

I couldn't think of not being there to witness his marriage, so I emptied my student-poor savings account and bought a ticket to be there with them on their special day. It was the most out-of-body experience of my life. So many things happened on that trip, but needless-to-say, we fell into each others arms all over again. I bawled at their ceremony in the temple (most thinking I was overwhelmed with joy), but I was hurting too much inside. I wanted him to be happy and this was part of the Plan and so it had to be the right thing to do, and so I kept encouraging him on. I remember walking around the temple grounds with him in the middle, his bride arm-in-arm on his right side, and me arm-in-arm on his left side. I was sooo glad to be there with them, but as I think about it, we had to have made quite the odd threesome - and some must have wondered what this clingy American was doing with these newlyweds. Again, I'll leave it at that...
We wrote epistles back and forth for the first year. Then I got married and we eventually went to Italy several times and met up with each other - but our relationship became strained as the "wives" interfered with our closeness. Both sensed it. I had shared and revealed in detail my feelings for Thomas with my wife prior to our marriage and she "accepted" this bromance though she did not understand it (now she has a clearer picture). Soon, however, his relationship with his wife soured and turned ugly and crazy and they split. Mine turned stressful and lonely as I sunk into the 90s in my great denial period of my life. Our letters became less frequent, but still very powerful - enough to keep the passion and friendship alive - where typically any other friendship, with the distance of a continent and an ocean separating us, would have died.

Then came the invention of email... (Yes, there was life before the Internet believe it or not!) and we began corresponding. He went through a deep and dark depression after his split from his wife and eventually left the Church. He never denied the spirit or the teachings, but felt the rules and the culture of "pro-marriage" at all costs drove him to this living "hell" he found himself living because of those decisions. Whether he should have blamed the Church for his decisions or not isn't the point... but our correspondence weakened as he would be so bitter.
Finally, he found another woman who helped him out of this bitterness. They could not marry as his wife would not grant a divorce (divorce laws in Italy are very convoluted) so they moved in together and have had a common law marriage and one child who is now a young teenager. We've visited them and I've found him again to be not very happy in his family situation, but he endures it well, and muddles on...

The rest of the story... Two weeks ago, after several months of silence, he emails me (by the way as soon as I came out to myself, I wrote him a 37 page letter and sent it to him explaining my "coming out" story) and wants to ask me several deep probing questions about me being gay, about my feelings for him when I was a missionary, about my feelings for him now, about things that I wanted to talk about nearly four years ago, but didn't - at that time he took my gay discovery as being a great revelation for me, but he didn't internalize what it might mean for him, or what he means to me.
These deep and personal questions baffled me, but in my current matrimonial funk, I was in the mood to be completely honest for the first time with him and I admitted that without a doubt I was "in love" with him, that I was attracted and turned on sexually by him, that I wanted him as a missionary, but I couldn't and wouldn't and DIDN'T allow myself to do it (the story of my life). At first he was a bit shocked by this revelation, but that led to other questions and over the course of the last two weeks we have been sharing lengthy correspondences daily back and forth (good thing I was on a blogging-holiday) and he started opening up to me for the first time about his own sexuality...

Some translated quotes - all from him:

"I didn't believe truly that you were in love with me. I thought you loved me as a brother, and wouldn't allow myself to imagine otherwise. I wish I had known this fact sooner... because maybe my life would have been different."

"This is a major guilt in my life - to not have understood that you loved me, and not just spiritually."

"Now I think, if it was truly God that put us together, wasn't it for our happiness? And if God is true love, maybe there should have been more between us."

"... the fact is that since we met, neither of us have been very happy in our lives! So, now, here we are. We have other family responsibilities that we must honor... But, I must confess something: If one day I remain alone and also you are alone, it doesn't matter what age we are, wait for me for I will want to be with you, not to just relive the past and try to make it what it wasn't, but so that you can really know me!"

"how would my life have changed had you confessed your love to me? Certain, it is difficult to say. Maybe at that time it wasn't right for us, and neither of us would have accepted it then, I would have been hard on you... but in my heart there would have been such joy, not pain."

"why is it only now that we have discovered this between us - when our lives are not free?"

"I never really felt the spirit in Church, but I felt the spirit with you..."

"If God has established his plan for us, let's leave it up to him to guide our future life. I think that on this earth there hasn't been a friendship so profound like ours. I will never forget it. I will never abandon you..."

"This discussion between us has helped me to be more tranquil. You are helping me to see that I am bisexual and am open to a relationship with another man. I've come to realize that sex must be accompanied by love. Without love, there is no satisfaction. So, if I decided to be with you for love, and not only for friendship, I would have been sexual with you."

"Why are you so far away? There are days when I want to go back to be alone with you."

"You are the only person that I can truly open my heart to without being judged, and you can do the same to me!"

"From among all of my friends, you are the one I feel more than "brother". Why? You have always given me your heart with sincerity and purity that I couldn't help but be in love with you... My love for you for the most part has been spiritual, but now, today, if I were free, I would give you so much more... because physical love for you would be a completion of our spiritual love."

"I have such a desire to hug you, to hold you, to feel your body's heat next to mine, to smell the scent of your skin... but, I don't want to come between you and your wife. It wouldn't be right to make her suffer... that is why I only wish to have discovered all of this before I got married or you got married. I've always missed you! Always, always, and what pain I have suffered for our distance from each other.... We are two stupid idiots! We could have waited... we should have waited... and then our lives would have been so much happier. I don't want to go crazy thinking about the "what ifs"."

"Be it clear that if we can figure out a way, I will want to be with you..."

What am I to think of all this? Is he teasing me? Is he playing on the fact that we have marriages and we live on separate continents and so it really isn't going to happen so it's easy to be gushy and emotional like this? And why now? Why all of a sudden, after our nearly three-decade relationship, we are sending love letters back and forth and discovering our feelings for each other are stronger than ever?
Am I so desperate for a bromance that I'll go to another continent to find one? Am I so screwed up I want to be in a fantasy world of make-believe romance? Is this all a pleasant distraction to keep me from facing reality? Sounds like I'm wanting to live in a soap opera...

I need help from my blogging community to help me sort this one out before it gets more out of hand than it already has... Comments? I'm an open book so have at it and critique away...

To be continued...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Not "it takes a village", but "it takes a queerosphere"...

Whether you want me to be or not, I'm back. My self-imposed blogging holiday has come to an end. Who knows if I go on another blogghiday anytime soon. I really appreciate the kind words and concern expressed here in the previous post, or in private emails and correspondences. I know that I am loved, cared for, and looked after more than I deserve from this little corner of the queerosphere.

At this time of Thanksgiving, I thank each of you for your prayers, your kindnesses and your genuine concern in my behalf and in the behalf of my wife and family.

I'm doing okay. It's been a rough couple of weeks - but what else did you expect from the drama queen of them all, huh? I am getting closer to figuring out "what I want" and "where I'm going" with this road I'm on. I'll be blogging about that and other new developments here shortly. I'm still debating how deeply I want to dive into these personal revelations and thoughts here, but if I don't use my blog, where else can I turn to? (and don't say "your wife" :))

But for now, for today, I just offer you my thanks and pray that I can be of help, support, friendship, encouragement and love and give ten-fold in return.

Huge "Beck hugs" to each of you...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

What's next?

I had a pretty good defensive argument with my wife yesterday that caught me off guard a bit and a bit red-faced. We still aren't speaking much to each other today. Needless to say, it is tense around the Beck home lately.

Some things have manifested themselves to the point where "concerns" have arisen as to "what's next?" regarding my gaydom. Things such as:

1. My hanging my head in complete disgust at Fast and Testimony Meeting last Sunday with a sister gloating over the Prop. 8 victory and her interpretation of witnessing the fulfillment of one of the "signs of the times". I guess my disgust was a bit too animated and was duly noted by my wife.

2. My calling my son's seminary teacher an "absolute bigoted moron" for teaching in the class that if Prop. 8 or anything like unto it were allowed to pass, there would be homosexuals demanding their right to have gay marriages performed in temples, and the Church would have to comply. I guess I did that too forcefully as well, and in front of the kids, my wife AND my elderly dear mother. Fortunately, my mother backed me up and thought it a stupid thing for her grandson's seminary teacher to say.

3. My changing my dress standards a bit - with my favorite jeans ( :) ) and tighter sweaters, and wearing sweaters without dress shirts underneath them. I guess this is a signal to her that I'm sending my wife that I'm trying to be more "gay". Heck, I've even been known lately to be caught wearing the MOHO approved attire at Church lately and not the prescribed white shirt (see Abelard's latest post) - and anyone who knows me knows what a huge step off the cliff this one is - I mean, what a poor example I'm setting for my impressionable teenage son (*gasp*)

4. My change of attitude with following the local church leaders, disliking my calling in the High Priest leadership, and my pushing toward more radical thoughts and ideas.

5. My change of attitude regarding my work. This economic downturn has really hurt my projects that are not receiving financing or funding, with many being put on indefinite hold or cancelled all together. I guess I've been cranky lately and stressed over where my career will go into the future and how well I am doing as a provider for my family.

6. Finding an interest all of a sudden in dumb bells and weights and working out and building up my arms - things that are strange for someone my age to suddenly take interest in - a new development that isn't encouraged by her, so she asks "so, who are you trying to impress anyway if not me?" in that oh so knowing sign of hurt and resignation that her husband is hopelessly not attracted to her and is seeking attractions elsewhere.

7. See her eyeliner out on the counter, knowing that she remembers leaving it in the drawer and why would it be out unless I was... (um... no comment).

She directly asks me: "So what's next? Are you really for gay marriage? You identify with them, don't you (emphasising the "yuck factor" that is still firmly within her mindset) - this same "yuck factor" that most all other straight individuals just can't get past and I can't see how they don't see the same thing I see - and I see nothing yucky about it). What are you going to come up with next? Where are you leading your family?"

Even if I try to explain that I don't support the Church stepping into politics and that things should be left on a religious basis - doesn't seem to satisfy her or calm her worries. She's worried about changes within me. And I get defensive and clam up and we revert back to old ways of not talking.

Of course, I don't tell her about my secret rendezvous with multiple MOHOs or that I even have this blog, or that a fellow blogger wants me to attend an upcoming party of MOHOs. I don't even tell her what a MOHO is. I really was going to tell her about this amazing support group, and had my speech all outlined in my head to break it gently but kindly to her about this queerosphere, but when she cornered me with "what's next?" as if to say "So, who's your boyfriend on the side and when do I meet him?" I just couldn't do it...

So, I ask: "what's next?"

I think I've been blogging way too much... It may be time for another break in the action and take a time out. I think I need to stop and think what direction I'm really heading in, and where I'm leading, or not leading, my family.