Saturday, April 26, 2008

Walking on eggshells...

It's been two weeks! My how time flies when you're having fun walking on eggshells...

And I've been good - cold turkey - for two weeks now. No indiscretions (how innocent they may be to some). None! Ever since cleaning the slate, and emptying the archives, the temptations have diminished, and the angst has decreased - at least for now. I don't know whether this will be something that I can keep up, but one day, and one week at a time, and hopefully soon - one month at at time.

My son has not confronted me. He seems pretty normal and has not pulled back from me either as I try to assess his reactions and interactions to me to notice any different behavior. As far as I can tell, he hasn't discussed the "indiscretion" further with my wife or with his siblings. I fear, however, that someday, somewhere, sometime, the confrontation will occur and I'll have to deal with it. But for now, it seems to have passed and if I've benefited by being awakened to this new reality, and to a new commitment, then so be it.

My wife has been extremely kind, more loving, and more willing to forgive. It's really freaking me out! I didn't expect such a reaction. I know I'm being watched. I realize the choice is mine. I feel like I have two strikes now and I'm still at the plate ready to either hit a home run or strike out all together. I recognize that I must restore trust and show commitment to her and to them, and earn their love and commitment. It just seems to be happening too willingly on her part. Why is that?

I think she still takes upon herself some of the "blame" for my being the way I am - thinking "If only I were kinder and more loving... if only I could get him to love me more... if only I could make myself more attractive to him - then all of this will go away." After 3 years, she still thinks this way. I don't know how to tell her that it isn't anything that she has or hasn't done to "cause" this and that loving me more, or becoming more attractive isn't going to change things. But, how do I get her to realize this isn't anything she's done or can do? I even spoke to her, earnestly offering to seek out marriage counseling to help her to understand me better and to help me understand her better - but not trying to change each other. She thought it wouldn't do any good.

I just want her to love me for who I am and to accept that I am the same loving and devoted person she fell in love with two-and-a-half decades ago. I just want to be me, to manage my attractions in a way that does not hurt anyone, particularly my family, and helps me to keep in tune with the Spirit. Is that asking for too much?

I mean, I don't want to spend my entire eternity glancing over my shoulder, wondering what they are thinking, wondering if they are just waiting for me to screw up and fall big time, wondering what they are wondering every time I'm alone with another guy, or on the computer in the basement, etc. I don't want to have to live like this!

So there you have it. My son has been scarred for life and isn't telling me about it - and my wife is trying to love me into becoming more attracted to her.

What a mess I've made of everything! It's not easy walking on eggshells...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A slap in the face...

This post is for me... If you benefit from my stupidity and find any sense of inspiration in the wreckage that may become my life, I am glad... but I'm not writing this for you. I'm writing this for me... and I don't know how much I'll really share of what has been going on.

I crashed in confusion and despair last week for many reasons. I slipped up in so many ways, and came near to losing all that I hold precious and dear.

I mentioned that I was alone last week and weekend. When my son came home, I was engaged in a venture into the world of YouTube and PG-rated gay flicks / gay kissing / gay scenes from movies and tv. It is something I have done sparingly, and I am admitting now to myself that I do it for curiosity sake yes, but also for titillation (did I mention it was the PG-non-age-restriction version). Needless to say, I've found myself justifying such behavior because of:

1. my lot in life as a closeted gay.
2. my inexperience and fascination with "the other side".
3. my level of stress due to travel and business and busy-ness.
4. straight out temptation and caving to it.

I didn't think my son was home and when he came in, I had it up on the screen (again it was not pornographic (here the justification in my voice), but was just two guys fully clothed sharing a romantic kiss - and because they were fully clothed and it was just a romantic kiss between two guys where's the harm -I mean what if it were a romantic kiss between a man and a woman - how many movies reflect that romance - is there anything wrong with this??? Seriously, I don't think so and yet, in this case, I was terribly ashamed and felt guilty like I had done a tremendously hideous thing). He was shocked! (he knows nothing of my predisposition to same-gender attraction). He called my wife, who was out of town, and asked what was going on and that he was confused and didn't know what to do... And she called me (without him knowing) and confronted me (as she had the right to do). It was one thing when this issue was between us; quite the other when it now involves the kids. We had mutually decided not to bring them into this world of mine until at some point that we thought they would be ready to handle it - meaning, at such time that I would be in a position to handle them handling it. Now, there was a window of curiosity and doubt springing up about "what is Dad doing looking at two guys romantically kissing?"

I felt devastated. I felt like such a loser. I felt destroyed inside. This stupidity on my part (excuses aside), has led to more family stress and confusion in my marriage. My wife wanted to drop everything and race home to give our son support. She told me not to confront him as he had shared his confusion in confidentiality, but that if he did confront me, I would have to be honest with him. Certainly, the emotions and butterflies, the uneasiness and turmoil churned away within me.

I was tortured, not because of what I was doing per se, but that it was now affecting my child. How was I to deal with that? And what would it mean to my marriage.

He assured his mother that he was okay and I assured her not to rush home but that I would deal with it. She was more patient than I thought she would be, but said "You need to finally decide what you're going to do with yourself. Are you going to be part of this family or not? It's your choice!"

Yes, though this predisposition is not a choice, what I do with it and how it affects those around me IS my choice!

I then slipped into my self-destruction mode and started beating up on myself... stupid, stupid stupid!

I didn't feel like going to church on Sunday, but I fought back those feelings and went (I needed to be the righteous example to my son - and yet why did I feel like such a hypocrite??). There was a priesthood leadership training meeting and the Stake President spoke about revelation and the need to have NOISE and BUSYNESS removed from our lives so that we can be inspired and hear the still small voice whisper to us. Boy, did I feel like he was speaking directly to me. Here I was devastated at how stupid I am, and how I can't let some things go, and how I allow temptation to get the better part of me, and so I swamp myself with work and with projects and travel and assignments and noise and business and busyness and think that all my problems will go away if I just don't think about them and then I find myself "alone" and "weak" and not listening very well and I mess up the family foundation. What a moron!

I then mope through the rest of the meetings, even though they were awesome on repentance and choices... and I feel remorse and regret, and I know I need to be more repentant as I don't partake of the sacrament, and I feel a prompting to turn in my temple recommend and resign from my callings...

And I then begin to live in fear. What is he going to ask me? How do I answer? What is my wife going to do when I get home? How am I to assure her that I still love her? Do I need to talk to the Bishop? Do we seek family counseling? Am I best to just leave the home now? Do I go find an apartment? What about finding a gun? Wouldn't it be better if I weren't around? Why don't I just go find a nice cliff up the canyon?

I drove up into the mountains and parked my car that afternoon. I cried and cried. This is so stupid. I was remorseful, not because of who I am, but because of the fear of hurting those I love. Why can't I just leave this alone? Why can't I just bury it once and for all...

I went home and tore into my computer and deleted my "stash" of goodies - and purged them all. It was a passionate symbolism of my commitment to reform and move on and leave them behind. I felt the need to purge them from my life and to be free of them, of the deceit, of the hiding, of the lurking. I purged them all... and it felt good... If I don't have a "collection" then I don't need to add to it, right? And if I don't have to add to it, then I don't need to look again, even if what I'm looking at, for the most part, is quite innocent and benign.

And so I prayed. I asked forgiveness. I asked the Lord for comfort and wisdom in how to answer any doubts or confusions that my son now may have about me. Was he now wondering about my relationships with Will and Tim? He's seen me openly affectionate with them - is he now questioning everything he knows about me and what I may be doing every time I hug these boy-friends of mine? Or what about what he's thinking every time he sees me on the computer? What about then?

I began to drive myself crazy with such questions. What had I done to him? Did I shake his testimony? Did I shake his foundation? What had I done to destroy his self-worth and value?

He has not said anything to me, and since he doesn't know that I know, I haven't said anything to him. I don't know if that is a good thing or not. My wife has been super kind and loving and supportive since coming back. I've tried to show more affection and love to her and have thanked her for her kindness. I have also committed that I'm not going back there... and I haven't... and that though I haven't chosen this orientation, I can choose how I manage it and who I want to be around - and I must choose my family first.

I fear that someday, this will come back to bite me. And rightfully it should. The last thing I want to do is destroy the faith and love of my children for me. I want them to be strong and happy and well-adjusted in their identities, and I need to keep trying to do so for myself so that I can be a source of strength, not weakness, for them.

This has been so innocent, and yet such a wake up call... I feel horrible and yet so grateful at the same time.

I know I don't need the fear, the angst, the self-hatred...

But, I do need a good slap-in-the-face... and maybe this has given me a chance to start seeking the spirit again through all the noise, confusion, stress and pain.

I wanted something passionate to write about again in my blog... well, I'm sure there's plenty more to come.

Two years and counting...

It's now been two years since my first post. It feels like I've been blogging for much longer - not in a bad sense - but it just feels like it's become more a part of my life than other things that are of a similar duration...
and yes, I am still here.

At times lately, I've been too consumed in other things to really put my heart into my blog. I miss that. I know when I have used my blog for the purpose of writing and sharing personal and heart-pounding feelings, I find my view on life becoming clearer. When I don't, I fall into traps of the past.

I need to find the passion again...

Saturday, April 12, 2008

It's not good to be alone...

As posted previously, I've been really, really busy. I've been traveling every week, sometimes twice a week out of state to project all over the country. And, though I was speaking a bit tongue-firmly-in-cheek, there is something to the fact that being busy and occupied and scheduled, keeps me from stewing and angsting and dwelling on this one aspect of my life - being a man hopelessly attracted to men.

When I travel, I am in meetings and at projects from sunrise to sunset and I'm chasing planes and renting cars and checking into hotels very late at night, most often after midnight. Which leaves me with little time to "get into trouble".

Another observation this week... I've been gone most of the week and this time when I came home, my wife and kids had left on a scheduled trip. And so, I've been alone this weekend. I thought it would be good to be alone at home, but I'm feeling very disheveled. It's given me time to think and to contemplate about things - and to dwell more on "this one aspect of my life". And, without the safety net of family, of wife, of kids being around, and with time to be alone, I've slipped back into an angsty mode and a mode of unsafe behavior. I've been thinking of thoughts and dreams and fantasies that I really shouldn't be thinking about. I don't know that it's that profound, but having my wife and kids around me sincerely helps me to keep keepin' on in a more steadfast manner. Fortunately, they'll be back tomorrow. I miss them. I miss having my wife just being here with me when I'm home. That's a good sign, right? Thank God for family and for repentance.

But it makes me wonder... as I've allowed myself to admit (finally) that I am inexplicably attracted to men, and when I don't have safety nets of family and work and church around me, have I also allowed my personal boundaries to slip a bit, particularly when I'm alone? And then I excuse such behavior as being par-for-the-course of being "gay"?

And how valid is repentance when I don't feel the "guilt" of the past? Am I slipping into the zone of being "past feeling"?


On another note, I've been contemplating ending this blog. I'm coming up quickly on two years now. It's been a good run, and I've learned a lot about myself and about the situation I find myself in as a MOM striving to keep my marriage going, with a testimony to boot, as I gain insights and new perspectives from others in this community. But sometimes I wonder: "What's the point?"

I mean, I never set out on this cybersphere to be any kind of example or source of inspiration - and I find it clearly more inspiring reading the words and observing the examples of others - and at times it's felt pretty scary and lonely for one so uncertain of the next step or misstep that I might take on this solitary journey.

And then I read this comment a few days ago:

I have been a lurker for some time and have read your blog for the past couple of years. I've been out to my wife for about 2.5 years. Your thoughts and insights and experiences have been healing for me. You are certainly not alone as a married with children, gay man. There are many of us who struggle on a daily basis with very similar issues and yearnings, myself included. I would dearly miss you and Mormon Enigma if the two of you quit posting.

I respect you for your humble and candid expressions in this blog and hope to someday have the privilege of meeting you.

Wow! How many lurkers are out there? How many anonymous readers do follow this blog (among others)? Is there value to staying around and contributing, even though I still have no idea what I'm doing here or what more I can say? (I mean, really, aren't you sick of my "romancing the boy-toy" saga and never growing into a real relationship - be it with my wife or with a guy?) Am I staying for gratification of others? Do I need ego-boosting for an esteem that has basically been shot by facing these realities within myself?

Mind you, I'm not going anywhere... I would miss the associations and inspiration from others too much to disappear. But, I feel I'm stagnating, and I need a boost... This little comment has encouraged me, at a time when I'm alone and not feeling so great about myself again.

It's not good to be alone...

Monday, April 07, 2008

A Kinder, Gentler Church...

I really enjoyed conference this past weekend. I was interested, as most all listeners were, in observing the tone and nuances of a mantle of a prophet changing to a new leader.

I have always felt a closeness to President Monson, but I felt it more in this past conference. He seemed more open, more friendly, more personable than usual - and this is saying a lot for a general authority who has always been open, friendly and personable. I felt a tenderness, and kindness. He was not only prophetic, but also very human (when he wiggled his ears in the Priesthood Session, I rolled in laughter and felt such an affinity for him - that was just priceless!). I liked that. I liked that he was reachable, approachable, and I felt his kindness and love for me individually.

When I woke up this morning and heard on the radio that plans were being made for President Monson to personally meet with representatives of Affirmation. As Utah Cog says, its "another step", but it is a step, and a good step at that, and I can't help but feel that goodness, and sweetness, kindness and understanding will come from this gathering and will become the "legacy" of our new Prophet.

Happy Monday and hopefully a happier, kinder and gentler Church to come...

Wow, I got tagged!

In response to the recent tag-game of a random book nearby, 5th sentence on page 123, I offer the following:

"Most visitors, however, will concern themselves with the upper town, a captivating gem of a place, built high on a rocky ridge, still retaining its original medieval street plan and a number of fine palazzi."

-- The Most Beautiful Country Towns of Tuscany, James Bentley.

(A description of Colle di Val d'Elsa, a small hill town near Siena in Tuscany - and yes, the book is nearby as I research for an upcoming trip to rural forgotten villages of Italy).

Anyone reading this can offer their input on my search for the most beautiful and most forgotten hideaway gems in Italy. I'd love to hear from you.

And if you're reading this, you are tagged.

And thank you, Abe, for tagging me! :(