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.

27 comments:

A.J. said...

Please don't beat yourself up over this... I do it to sometimes the longing< in my case to be with a women> gets so strong I too watch lesbian themed movie clips on youtube. It is difficult. I tried to explain to my best friend . I mean she can watch a romantic hetro movie any time as long as it doesn't have sex scenes its o.k. But I'm not supposed to watch videos of women kissing.... it doesn't seem fair. Please don't think of yourself as a bad person. Remember that your family loves you and god loves you. - Andrea

MoHoHawaii said...

I'm sorry to hear about this. You're in my thoughts.

Anonymous said...

I hurt for you brother. I have been in similar straits myself. My wife found gay porn on my computer 2.5 years ago. It was my worst nightmare.

We don't want the kids to know. They know I had a porn problem but, never in a million years SSA. I have teens at home. My biggest worry is that they will have to carry my burden or I will have to face that shame.

Bottom line, Beck, you didn't seek the attractions. We know this isn't something you just will away. It is what it is. Don't destroy your self worth. Your life isn't wasted. You are a good man, husband and father. Your desires are good. Perhaps your son will learn something from this.

For me it was the beginning of healing and honesty in my marriage. The journey was painful but, the result has been good.

Hold your head up, trust in God and move ahead. Keep your dignity, remain calm and don't take any drastic steps. Let the dust settle first and then deal with it with a clear mind and after the adrenalin subsides.

I hurt for you and I so realate to your fears and your shame but, just remember that both fear and shame are negative emotions and are born of our enemy, the devil. I can literally hear him laughing in times like these.

HOld on to your gold. Let God bless you and remind you of your worth. Trust Him to heal this and it may turn into a blessing. I hope so. I'll pray that you have peace.

Silver

Kengo Biddles said...

I think Silver has a point, and I think that you really should strive for more spirituality...that's something I need to do, too.

You're in my thoughts.

Beck said...

AJ: I know I'm not a bad person and I know I did a pretty innocent thing (especially if you look at it in the reverse of a hetero video), but I still feel pretty icky and self-centered, and I feel rotten for hurting family that I love.

I know they love me, but it still hurts and serves as a wake up call to set my priorities more clearly.

Beck said...

MOHOH: Thanks for being out there and for your kindness.

Beck said...

SILVER: You really need to start a blog! You have insights and perspectives that need to be shared. I appreciate your comments here. I'd be very interested to know more specifically what happened (if you are willing to share) about your family dynamics when you were "found out". I think that can be very helpful to know.

Thanks for your encouragement for me to find my spirituality. I'll be okay.

KENGO: I know you're there! I just forget that God is there. I don't totally forget, I just stop listening and I allow noise and busyness and stress and life get in the way - and I screw up. I really need to stop and just listen.

J G-W said...

Beck - That is about as mortifying an experience as I can imagine. I'm sure both you and your son wish he had learned about your SSA at a different time and in a different way. But as you so well know, life isn't always so neat and tidy.

The fact is, though, what you did was not in my mind any kind of sin. It was a very understandable indiscretion.

I hope that at some point your son will understand more about your life, your struggles, about YOU! I hope some day he will have the complete context for understanding exactly what he witnessed, and that this will deepen his love and compassion for you. I hope that someday you will have an opportunity to discuss this with him in an appropriate way.

The Buddha said: "To understand everything is to forgive everything."

-L- said...

I can imagine a little bit of what you're going through, since I do have kids of my own now. I'm sorry you've been having a hard time.

Although, I understand the good desire for commenters to reassure you that you've done nothing wrong, only you and the Lord know what lies behind digging into the videos and the supposedly benign youtubes. If it's something that genuinely holds potential to hurt your family, it's certainly not benign. If it's something more like feeling worthless and suicidal, then you know that those feelings of self-questioning come from Satan and are lies.

As a guy who knows from first-hand experience that PG rated and "objectively" harmless media can be a means to personal self-destruction, I hope you weigh out your feelings carefully to sort out which are from God and which are not.

Regardless, I love you and wish you the best.

Abelard Enigma said...

I haven't commented because I just can't seem to find the right words to say.

So, I'll just say that I love you, and that I'm here for you if you need anything.

J G-W said...

L is right of course... It's what's in your heart that counts, and only you and the Lord ultimately know all about that. But you have this tendency to be far too harsh on yourself, something painfully obvious to all your friends. Thus our instinct to reassure you.

My former bishop liked to ask the question: what's all this going to look like in a thousand years?

Damon said...

Beck,

I'm sorry you're hurting. I hope you know that no, your family would not be better with you gone.

A couple of things...I mentioned when you posted that you were keeping yourself busy with work that you should watch out. When you block out the "whole gay thing" with busyness it does have a way of coming back and whacking you across the face. Be careful in trying to ignore this issue.

My best friend in highschool found out his father was gay when his father left his mother and 5 other siblings for his boyfriend. It was really hard for their family.

My friend was able to work through it and came through it ok. He has an excellent relationship with his father now, but it took work on both parts. I just don't want you to really think that by this one specific incident you've caused some sort of serious damage with your son. It will be ok.

I am still in great admiration that you are making the choices you are...choosing to honor your covenants and responsibilities. Know that it isn't an easy path and that it isn't an easy burden you bear.

Beck, we are human and we make mistakes. Don't judge yourself so hard and don't expect the sometimes impossible from yourself. Learning to master these desires will be a path of success and failure. BE PATIENT. We make a little headway and then we fall a little. Rarely is it an all or nothing solution. Be patient.

And I would just urge you to find counseling in this. For you and your wife. I really think it would help you both alot. Finding the right therapist is key and it will take some time, but it will really be worth it.

It will help you both understand each other better. It will open lines of communication, providing opportunities to discuss things that otherwise would never be discussed. It will help.

I wish you the best. My heart aches for your struggle, for your pain, for your sorrow. Please, please, please never choose to remove yourself by taking your own life. There is no scenario where that is the solution best for you or anyone else.

My thoughts and prayers are with you. Know that God loves you. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help.

My Best,
Damon

Beck said...

J G-W said: "It was a very understandable indiscretion..." That may be, but for me right now it was much more than that. I know I'm beating myself up, but I need to wake up to the fact that what I'm doing may affect the foundation of those that depend on me... even if what I did was not a "sin".

John, the funny thing is, that as several days have now gone by, my son is not referencing it at all. He's brushing it off. I can't figure it. Maybe he's processed it already and he's not dwelling on it and it's bounced off... but I fear that at some point as he puts other pieces together, it will come together and he will make it all fit together - hopefully then, he will still know that I am still who I am and that I love him, even with imperfections, and he will love me for who I am... I hope so, but for now, I'm still praying that it will be so.

Beck said...

L: I really appreciate your comments. I've missed your interaction and always look for your responses.

Simple things, innocent things are often indiscretions that lead to bigger things. The Brethren have constantly warned about how Satan works in subtle step-by-step ways. I know this. But, I still occasionally fall. This time, it's affected not just me but my son and my wife. It's another step...

I recognize the voice of the spirit. I just don't always listen. I'm going to be okay. Things are settling down - I just hate to put my loved ones through this.

Thanks for your love and support.

Beck said...

DAMON said: "we are human and we make mistakes. Don't judge yourself so hard and don't expect the sometimes impossible from yourself. Learning to master these desires will be a path of success and failure. BE PATIENT. We make a little headway and then we fall a little. Rarely is it an all or nothing solution. Be patient."

I know I need to be patient and work through this and keep keepin' on... and I will, I promise... it's just easy to beat oneself up along the way.

You know, the amazing thing is my wife is being really COOL and CALM about this. She is being more loving, not less loving. It's almost confusing me to the point that I have to smack myself because I'm not getting it from her. What's going on here? Why aren't they kicking me out of the house? How come my son hasn't disowned me yet?

What's going on! If they can't beat me up and are going to increase their love for me, then I've got to beat me up because who else will? When I feel so crappy and such a jerk, someone's got to do it...

Right?

Kengo Biddles said...

To quote Ted:

"You feel sorry for the guy with bruises all over himself, until you find him in the closet with a hammer."

Sean said...

my heart is filled with love and compassion for you at this time.

like Abe, i have nothing else to offer you except my love.

God Bless

santorio said...

i don't understand the fuss. what if you son or wife had walked in and found you droolin' over a playboy fold-out. you son would have said, hey let me take a look, your wife would have a look of mock disgust and said, oh these men.

why should it be any different if its a guy you're looking at?

Beck said...

KENGO: All I can say is OUCH! Thanks, I guess, for hitting the nail on the head. :(

SEAN: Thanks for still being out there...

Beck said...

SANTORIO: Your point is well taken - but that's the point - it IS a big deal!!! It maybe shouldn't be, but it is...

elbow said...

I want you to know that you are amazing and I love you so much. I'm sorry you are going through such a hard time.

You have NOTHING to be ashamed of. You are human and everyone makes mistakes...however; you have not made a mistake. You are dealing with deeply heavy and weighty issues. You are not in a place where you can hold yourself to the perfect standards that the church lays out.

I just want you to know that I'm here for you! Don't live in fear. Run away from fear and don't look back. If anything embrace the thing that makes you loving and sensitive and beautiful and vulnerable.

My prayers are with you.

Beck said...

ELBOW: I really appreciate your comment, but I don't see what is so "amazing" about my missteps. Am I missing something here?

I love you too and hope you are well. Thank you for your prayers.

playasinmar said...

"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."

I'm not sure if that's Greek Tragedy or Comedy but I am sure of this: Fate waits for no man.

Beck said...

PLAYA: "...I'm not sure if that's Greek Tragedy or Comedy but I am sure of this: Fate waits for no man..."

I don't believe in FATE!

playasinmar said...

Talk like that will anger Zeus!

A CROW'S VIEW said...

A friend of mine who is struggling has this clip on his blog that sounds a lot like that. He is wavering between rather he should be faithful or if he should follow another path. He also has several other blogs of guys who are further along the path that will eventauly lead to giving up.

I wrote him and told him the more he dwells on stuff like that the harder it will get. I mean lets face it, he has to search for it. I asked him why he would want to post such stuff. What really hurts is most of what he posts is very inspiring. But I think he does things like this to establish himself. More and more he relates to being gay as who he is and less and less as being a faithful member of the church. More and more I see him slipping and honestly its heartbreaking.

I was touched by your blog. Because it made me cry. Yes lets face it, what you did was pretty innocent. The thought that it plants in your mind aren't and it really doesn't matter if it is this kind of clip or porn if it gets you mind in a place to take the next step.

I think however that you reacted to it the way you did shows a lot of integrity. You did the right thing afterwards. I think that you should be proud of that. And not be too hard on yourself. It sounds to me as if you are doing your best.

Beck said...

CROWSVIEW: Thanks for your kind words. It's now been an entire month and I'm still completely clean! Now that I've gone a month, I can go two, right?

It's still hard... Fortunately (or unfortunately) I've had some other hard times in my life that have distracted (or focused) me in different directions and I find myself not needing to go back to where I was. I'm finding strength in being who I am without it.

Thanks for being out there!